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Adventures of a "real food" virgin

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mbecktel's picture
mbecktel

Adventures of a "real food" virgin

Well, I finally did it. For a long while now, I have been growing highly suspect of the foods around us. It just seemed like there was too much convenience, and many of us just didn't seem to be getting any healthier. Then I saw the movie The Future of Food (it's on Netflix) and that got me going on frankenfoods, you know, genetically modified foods that hold farmers ransom and put genes of different things where they are not supposed to be. My mother just died of ischemic bowels, which means the arteries to her digestive system were totally blocked. It is the same as a heart attack, but kills your intestines (painfully - like angina of the gut). She had been eating healthy by conventional standards since she beat lymphoma 20 some years ago. My dad died of prostate cancer, even though he never passed up a plate of spaghetti or tomato sauce on anything. So much for the lycopene connection. And my younger sister died of cancer three years ago at age 49, and it started in her lung, spread to her brain, then suddenly after being biopsied, found it spread everywhere, even though the original cancer was supposed to be slow spreading. Yes, she did smoke, but never had a smoker's cough (I sure did when I smoked) and could run up two flights of stairs and not be winded. She ate healthy foods all the time.

With a background like this, I started to delve into the not-so-mainstream literature for all those hints I had been picking up on what is and is not healthy according to conventional wisdom powered by the agribusiness and pharmasutical factions, and what science was unearthing. This is a fascinating journey. My bible is Real Food by Nina Planck (http://www.ninaplanck.com/)

White bread and refined sugar are the antichrist, and refined salt is no saint either. Seems that industry likes to reduce everything to its base elements, take the parts and sell them at a premium, then replace some of the things lost by artificial means and tout them as good for you. And when it is not, and despite your best efforts you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, anemia, and fat, there are PILLS for that. (don't say much of anything about the side effects tho...)

On the other side of the coin, there are those who say to go back to the natural. I have already witnessed the miracles that homeopathics can do (but there's no money in them so it appears the FDA is being paid to find ways to supress them and other natural cures and healthy things). I have learned a lot, and so I am embarking on a journey back to REAL FOOD.

I have purchased a Nutrimill and grains from a place called BreadBeckers (http://www.breadbeckers.com/). They also have a co-op that periodically delivers nearby. I am going to make my own bread becasue I hate commercial whole wheat bread - it tastes dry and bitter to me. I am hoping that this forum will help me develop the talent to make interesting and delicious breads that are healthy for us.

I also have discovered they have started a CSA farm nearby (that's Community Sustainable Agriculture). (for more info see http://www.localharvest.org/) The way is works is you buy a share of the farm for a season. And you live and die with the fate of the farm. They are successful? You get loads of fresh healthily grown veggies and eggs every week. Bad weather? Growing problems? You also share the hardships. And then we found out our farm was going to divide grass fed cattle. The bottom line is that we can get totally naturally raised beef, high in omega three and other goodies, for about $2.50/lb. Can't beat it! And our farmer made a connections so we only have to invest in half a half, so we can realistically store it (and afford it).

Raw milk is another pursuit. (http://www.realmilk.com/) We have some leads on some, tho it is sold only for animal consumption in Florida (sort of a wink,wink, nudge,nudge, knowhwatImean affair). We may have to settle for vat pasturized, but non-homogenized.

And coconut oil. (http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/) I am amazed how nice virgin coconut oil tastes. Am sampling several sources.

Sounds like I am going back to my hippie days (no I never lived on a commune or even went vegetarian), but I intend to see if I can make healthy choices according to this new/old wisdom, and then see if I really do feel better, lose weight, and overall become a better person. We'll keep you posted

Comments

JinMaine's picture
JinMaine

I enjoyed reading this (well, perhaps "enjoy" isn't the right word). It sounds like you and I are about the same generation. I remember when I was in college (early 70s) sitting on the quad next to a guy who told me that our food culture was going to result in the elimination of our species! At the time, I thought he was a bit extreme, but as time goes by - I think he made some awfully good points. Principally, how most of the foods that form our modern diet have been excessively processed - with good things taken out and junk (and worse) put in.

I have been increasingly appalled at how much these overly processed foods have become accepted (and desired). For this reason, this site is a breath of fresh air.

Your next to last sentence sounds so much like something I said to myself a year ago. Since then, I've lost weight, felt MUCH better, and like to think I've become a better person.

It's worth it. I wish you the best with your efforts.

Janet

 

mbecktel's picture
mbecktel

Janet, thanks for sharing your thoughts.  Yes, we are pretty much contemporaries.  I graduated in 1970.  But Vietnam and Kent State were the overarching issues when I graduated.

 There is another documentary out there, Gentically Modified Food: Panacea or Poison about natural foods that was filmed at one of those weird rallies.  It had an extremely high kook factor with folks prancing around in strange costumes and interviews with "fringe" authorities.  Even if they are right, don't they know that all this is defeating their purpose?

 But I really respect many of the sources I have been reading, and I do hope that this grand experiment (I am a good cook, and love a good farmers' market) will pay the dividends you are enjoying.  Thanks!

~Marianne

ps I dread the day that kids will never taste real whipped cream, choosing  "whipped topping" instead!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

then you better get into cod liver oil as well.  Grandma knew something about keeping everyone healthy on the farm.   --Mini Oven

mbecktel's picture
mbecktel

I am curious to why the CLO.  I remember my mom telling me of her dread in lining up to get her daily dose before leaving for school (she was a PA coal miner's daughter). 

 Plank says that grass fed raw cow's milk is superior because it has a high level of omega 3 oil in it - that's why grass fed is better than silage/hay/grain fed milk.  Her plug for CLO is for those who don't eat enough oily fish (okay, I confess to that one).

 Old ways were often wise ways, but can you share the cod liver oil/raw milk connection with me?  

thanks!

Marianne

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

To put it simply: Raw Milk does not contain enough vit D needed to build and maintain strong bones. Cod liver oil is packed full of Vit D. I am not so sure how many of the Omega-3 oils you're getting from the milk. After all most fat is removed from the milk as it floats to the top. Butter, in the quantities needed would be unhealthy. I would check over the statistics and do some math. Google CLO but don't forget to check out side effects also. I would also look into why Supermarket milk is enriched with Vit D. Studies were done in the 60's on why dairy farm kids had more brittle/broken bones than city kids drinking enriched milk. One solution was cod liver oil. --Mini Oven

mbecktel's picture
mbecktel

Okay, that does make sense.  I will do the google as you suggest.  I know some recommend sun exposure sans sunblock on a daily basis to develop vitamin D, but farm kids would not have this problem.  I am now curious to read about this study.  Thanks for the info!

 Marianne

TinGull's picture
TinGull

My first viewing of Future of Food was at the Blue Hill Library up in Maine.  Amazing community and entire area of Maine.  It was about 3-4 months before that when I had my "A-Ha!" moment with regards to eating as local and organic as possible. 

There's a big thing going on I think with the Presidential debates regarding welfare recipients needing to feed their family on 27 dollars a week.  Since I heard about that, it's been my mission to create a way for families to feed themselves on 27 dollars a week.  Is it possible?  Oh my...absolutely!!!

You mentioned CSAs.  This is something not many people know about, but are more abundant than people think.  You can purchase a share for upwards of 28 weeks for 300 bucks at a farm near where I live in Maine.  That equates to about 20 bucks a week in fresh veggies and fruit and a bouquet of flowers.  Get some milk and eggs, and you're set as far as Im concerned for the week.  Flour is cheap, as we all know here, so bread isn't tough to make an abundance of on the cheap.

Or, you can grow your own in a little potager garden virtually anywhere!  Spend 200 dollars on supplies in the winter time, start seeds in the late winter/early spring and you don't spend ANY money on veggies (provided you keep the garden going nice).  The rest of that money can be devoted things like milk, eggs, meat...

This coming spring I'll be growing my own grains, too.  We live with just 1 car (Scion xA w/ 32mpg city) and I work from home, so that cuts down on our footprint.  We grow our own food, bake our own bread, all this good stuff that EVERYONE can do, but hardly anyone wants to put in the effort to learn.  

My mom passed away from brain cancer last year (I'm 26 years old, she was 53) and a while prior to that I started cleansing programs and going on my organic/local way to try my hardest to not have the same fate.  I really believe in my heart that the cause of cancer and obesity is the food issues that plaque this nation.

 

*stepping off the soap box now*

mbecktel's picture
mbecktel

Hey TinGull

What a nice reply. Sorry about your mom. Way too early to lose her. Yes, I am really afraid of genetically modified food, when they start doing interspecies transfers particularly. YOu are giving your body something it has no idea how to handle!

 

I am psyched about my CSA. We live in the middle of nowhere, about 2 hours from Tampa, Orlando and Gainesville, near the Gulf. Florida is such an odd state. The growing seasons are backwards (I grew up near Chicago, and lived 20 years in Michigan), the soil needs constant and heavy amending, and you deal with all kinds of pests you didn't dream of up north! Their State Fair is in February. And we don't get decent produce! Even if the Georgia peach crop was halved this year, what survived is said to be really sweet, but darn if I can't find one Georgia peach! Our stores and produce markets (dead of summer, nothing grows here now) have California peaches and nectarines. We were up north for a family reunion, and we picked up some apples on the train, and forgot about them. Two weeks home, we remembered and ate them. Imagine our surpise to find they snapped! Almost all Florida apples (they don't grow here, but I speak of the shipped in ones) may feel hard, but they are mush inside. I miss summers up north!

Well anyway, I never dreamed we'd have a CSA right here in the county! Our closest Starbucks is 45 minutes away in Ocala, and the nearest Kinkos is in New Port Richie or Gainesville! We don't tend to have modern things, but here ours was! And just found that there will be another natural farmer right down the road too, to back up anything we may need!

We have traveled in Europe, have family in central Europe, and the food there is incredible. The restaurant portions are small by US standards, but we were always satisfied. The eggs are incredible. They don't allow the modifications and shortcuts we take for granted, and the people are happy and healthy, and their food does not cost an arm and a leg! And recent studies show they are taller than us (sign of good nutrition) and not nearly as fat. I believe you are on the right track with the nutrition. Heck with convenience, how hard it is to crack some eggs and measure ingredients?

Good luck on your garden!!

Marianne

 

 

browndog's picture
browndog

Tingull, you give me hope for the planet, I swear. In my staunch curmudgeon mode I tend to see young 'uns as having nothing on their minds but social life and ipods. But there's a lot to learn about living from a 26 year old, I see.

Jamila's picture
Jamila

Thanks for the links, really really appreciated!

mbecktel's picture
mbecktel

I do hope that they will be helpfui for you.  It took me a while to collect them, and I was anxious to share.

 Marianne

Woz's picture
Woz

Just a note, BreadBeckers is found at http://www.BreadBeckers.com not .org.

Woz 

mbecktel's picture
mbecktel

Yikes!  You are right!  I've corrected the original entry.  Nice catch.  Thanks for the input, Woz

 marianne