Friday, February 10, 2012

Get Your Footprint Out of My Plate!

Please get your foot out of my plate.

Between all the insistent issues surfacing in the media and the din of my conscience, i can hardly enjoy a meal anymore. And then, i feel compelled to explain the history, the science and reasoning behind the food footprint on my table. Few seem to share the joy of first spring dandelions and summer portulaca, wonder why?

First came the calories, then the carbohydrates, soon to be superseded by twins Cs of climate change. Well, we have not worked our way out of the alphabet, here comes Carbon. How much carbon are you worth? Warning it's a negative, you only win by losing, that's the nature of the big Cs.

Confessional banter would have the public in a knot over the assumption that calories and carbs are the number one enemy. The market drivers and fear mongers have done a very good job of proliferating ideas and products into the public psyche. Judging by statistics of how-to books in print on those subjects one would assume a high effectiveness ratio—Not so!

However, one look at the CDC files on obesity, the opposite results are striking. Basic child psychology would prove that when you wish to instill caution and character, you do not scare and overwhelm the participant. In this case, if you wish to alert the masses about carbon expenditures, refrain from confusing the issue with heavy science and argument. Serve it cool and light. Remember to step lightly upon the subject.

During the hyper caloric scare, i watched many a housewife avoid fruits because -- they were dreaded carbs. And none could be convinced that the fiber and vitamin content was essential to metabolic wellness; the magazines said...So went the scales and calorie charts, the lists of lists. And the weight gain, the more obsessed, the more desperate; that's hard on the hormonal response cycle. Research has proven the ill effects of worry on body fat deposits.

And then the dreaded fat many people told me that they avoided –avocados—because the it contained too much fat? Disregarding the fact that this 'innocent' fruit provides necessary lipids and minerals..the same folks shunned olive oil in favor of corn oil? Which doctor sold these ideas? The one who told them not to eat the perfect food..(that would be chocolate) I mean eggs..which are a reliable source of complete protein, with a balance of good cholesterol..add soy to that and you'll get so smooth a digestive track, you'll skid onto the health path to zero waste...That easy!

Several battles lost, one more hill for the average person to climb. Now Joe Public is told to lighten his food burden. Buy local, buy unwrapped or bulk, buy less meat. The ordinary person just mastered the GI (glycemic index), the heart healthy diet and that 'thing you hang on your hip to count your steps while doing housework. Scales and measuring tape rust in the closets, the Bow Flex died of premature abuse and neglect, now what? A computer memory jogger to alert you of new findings to disprove previous advice?'s everywhere.

Just as food prices rise along with gas and energy prices, Mr average can't pay attention to both the election circus, and, the Climate Change salesmen. One citizen can only do so much. The anxiety is driving people away from good conscience. Green vendors and promoters must take it easy on the bottom of the economic pyramid. A backlash of not so healthful consumerism would be ugly. Can you see disgruntled housewives going on donut binges, kids spitting vege pizza on the counters, disgusted men crushing arugula on the rug..The gross factor potential is huge here; there's no bottom to the food revenge dilemma.

Consider a single mother after work, meal planning a total loss, she pushes a screaming kid in the basket and drags another around the center aisles. She knows she can't afford enough fruits, so, canned will have to do, canned in Peru? Who cares at ninety nine cents for a large can. The fresh meat case does not even deserve a glance when bologna still hovers at the low end of nutrition-- Processed, cheap, cheap, cheaper the focus, plastic clean wrapped and red under lamps, kids will love it. From Argentina, Australia? Don't matter. Milk in plastic bottle, price up again. Gotta get outta here!

And i want to disrupt this woman's routine to ask her to take a minute to read the tiny little print somewhere out of the way on these pretty packages in her basket? I don't think so. I want to write an article for a magazine that she only buys for the weight loss claims in bold title on front page? Who am i to convince this burdened being to change her thinking when she has no time to think between all actions and daily reactions? I can only offer small advice under guise of economy, not ecology, at least, not yet.

When economy squeezes the bottom rungs of society, the message of cause and effect will finally persuade those who need to hear it most. At present, it is not the caviar from Canada or Russia that will tax the carbon debt on earth; how much of the crunchy fish eggs have you spread on your crackers lately? No, the major culprits of greenhouse gas pollution are the meat on the daily plate, the chicken Mc Something and the quick fix white flour fluff with processed high fructose ingredients. I perceive my civic duty as one easy recipe at a time, from scratch, and into the meals of the many. There are solutions..of course..

Many blogs carry a soft footprint; they furnish concise information in easy to follow how-to..The world at your fingertips, old world, new science, straight to your plate..and just wait till you savor the photography to salivate by..just a few samples below..

Bon Appetit! OK, yes, yes i DO enjoy my food.


  1. Well, thanks for the plug at the end there! That was kind and generous. Especially being put in the same paragraph as the other 3, I'm totally flattered.
    I cut out fats from the time I was 17 until age 34. Now the doc says I can't get pregnant because A) I don't have enough fat in my diet and B) I haven't eaten enough fat in my diet in the last 15+ years, and I've done too much damage.
    I started seeing a nutritionist and she says, EAT EVERYTHING in moderation.
    The fertility specialist says cut out the carbs and just eat fat and meat.
    (Sigh.) My heart surgeon friend is a vegetarian.
    So, I'm just going to stick to what the nutritionist said. That's what my grandma did and her body lived well beyond her mind. But with all these messages thrown at me....sometimes I just give up and order pizza. :(
    And on those nights, I don't even make it from scratch.
    Now where in the hell is the check box to receive your follow up comment? Help! :)

  2. checkbox? what box? hey, i got you to comment, fixed that didn't i? now you want more...
    nutritionist smart..
    everything ---moderato...follow your instincts..and tell your doubts to take a backseat for awhile...if my skinny aunts and mother could conceive the cousins and myself..there must be others in line..hit the nut bowl and the chocolate, the artichokes and the avocados...makes you pretty and smart too..
    paint something, change the bedspread and try lamb and couscous..with eggplant..(no not on the bedspread)..on the kitchen table maybe with a candle....

  3. @ Jennifer - go to the bottom of this post below our comments and there is “subscribe to: post comments”. that should work for you.

    @ Nadine - thank you so much for the mentioning my blog. I just mentioned on one of Jenn’s blogs that she should write a cookbook with her grandmother’s recipes... I would definitely want to do the same for you but have no idea how I could contribute knowing that your books are about life/poetry mostly. Maybe by reading your poetry I would get inspired with my photography... Just saying, though.

    Mostly I would want to say something about your post. Today I read a few “facts” about gluten, salt, high-fructose corn syrup and trans fat. While there was a big no-no for the last one there is nothing wrong with the rest. Of course as you said: with moderation. For example the thing with salt is that: “70 % of our sodium comes from processed foods and restaurant meals”. Solution ? Fixing more meals at home. Simple as that.

    Anyway, people that read my blog would never think that this person went through bulimia and... eating disorder in general. Most of my teenage-hood I hated to eat and the food.
    That whole part of my life which is enjoying and celebrating live by being able to taste I had lost for many years.
    Everything was bad. Every single food had something that “we shouldn’t be eating” - said doctor this or that... .

    I was scared to put anything inside my mouth and on the other hand I would filled myself with store-bought, plastic-wrapped, quick to prepare meals that were nothing else than a garbage.

    To make a long story short. Today I enjoy to cook and to eat. I enjoy having my family fed with a good homemade meal. And there is everything in my diet. Cookies, cakes, breads, pasta, lots of fruits and veggies, whole milk and whole milk based yogurts. I won’t even say NO to a hot-dog or two ;) But the thing is that I do not remember when was the last time I ate store-bough cookies or a cake. If my family eats a hot-dog it’s more likely on homemade buns filled with good quality cheese, lettuce topped with whole a lot veggies. Today I weight much less and I’m in a much better health (mental and physical).

    If somebody tell me that I eat this or that what is not good for me I’ll tell him/her to kiss my pretty butt cheeks.

    Writing it while making homemade pizza with extra fiber, omega-3, lignans and homemade tomato sauce :)

    btw, I think you both might find it interesting:

    not that I agree or that I am a big fan of Lierre Keith, but I just thought it’s an interesting point of view, something to add to your already wide knowledge!

  4. ewa, i would love to inspire you with my poetry. i will post some on my last known nest .blogspot site..and you can send some photographs which pop in for a book, i am writing food oriented stories of france and also life stories from my desert life as well ..different is emotional is about everyday life under dire circumstances. i hope you'll let your wildest imagination loose on these..
    some are ready to type in as i had a mac baby and floppies then,, all gone must retype the old files. on my pc..told you i wasn't organized as yet..
    will write a post about eating habits soon. thanks for being there..