Saturday, June 11, 2011

Food for Thought...

It's a seriously cold and rainy day here in Massachusetts (though no tornados, thank goodness!). I've been reading a book that's really pushing me to think a lot about what we're eating. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is fascinating, well-written, and a fun read. I'm about half-way through it, and find myself grappling with all sorts of questions about how we're eating. Coupled with the fact that about 4 times in the last couple of weeks, I've had people raving to me about how much a gluten-free/casein-free diet has helped their child (typically spectrum kids, which my son is not...well, not technically, but close, IMO), AND with getting some less-than-fabulous cholesterol results from my recent physical, it feels like the Universe is sending me a big message about how I'm treating my body, and how I'm feeding my family.

The author talks about the idea of food as an ethical choice. Now this is, of course, not an idea that's new to me, but I've mainly thought about it in relationship to meat. Most of the meat we eat comes from our meat CSA, and I love it. But Kingslover also talks about the environmental impact of eating non-local foods, and out-of-season foods. One of the questions I am feeling pushed to answer is "is my preference for something enough of a reason to make an immoral (for lack of a better term) choice?" An example: I'm not a huge chicken breast fan, so I purchase chicken thighs, which I like better. As I'm reading this book, I'm thinking that just the fact that I *like* them better is really not a good enough reason to participate in the mass-produced chicken market.

So, what are some things we can do to make a difference? We're joining a produce CSA for the summer. I'm super-excited about this, because (1) it couldn't be more local, and (2) I think what we'll get will be a better fit than the CSA we did two years ago. (Lovely people on that farm, but it was just too far). We're also splitting this one with friends, so that'll be cool too. I think I'm going to say that for a while, we need to eat only the meat from the CSA. We have a 10 lb share, and we're splitting that with another friend. We need to eat up what we have in our freezer, and I'm going to resolve not to buy any other meat. Hmm, what about sandwich meat? I'll have to think about this. Personally, I need to cut way, way back on my cheese consumption. I love cheese, I really do, but I think I need to remember that my grandfather died of heart disease, my dad had a quadruple by-pass a few years ago, and it's time to really make some changes. For awhile there, I was making myself a salad for lunch every day, and I need to get back to that. I think it's also probably worth it to find out if my son has a gluten or casein sensitivity, since making either of those diet changes will be a large endeavor.

This is hard for me to do. As I think I've mentioned before, I had a very serious and long-term eating disorder, and a huge and important part of my recovery was making all foods allowable and acceptable. I think figuring out how to make these changes without falling back into the eating-disorder mind-trap is going to be hard. Even though it's for good and healthy reasons, that thinking is never too far from me.

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