Saturday, July 11, 2009

Please don't super size me

As health conscious as I have always been, and as much as I educate myself about healthy living - be it food, cleaning products, etc. - I have yet to watch the movie Super Size Me. That changed tonight.

A month or so ago I canceled my cable. I was wasting too much time with the TV on - sometimes without even paying attention to it or having a purpose. My local library is now closed on weekends (thanks, economy) and I was unable to check out the books I wanted to get today. I visited the site Hulu (a site where you can watch TV shows and movies for free) and when I was looking through the list of movies to watch, Super Size Me was near the top of the list for most popular movies.

This movie was SHOCKING. I knew the basic idea of the movie prior to watching, but the numbers revealed were blowing my mind. The creator, Morgan, ate only foods served at McDonald's for a total of 30 days. Over the course of that time he had noticeable health problems, gained weight and learned a lot about the issues surrounding food in our country.

I've always been interested in the type of information revealed in this film. At some point during college (I am 25 now), I was reading a book about food issues - it might have been Fast Food Nation or Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating. My mom asked my why I do that to myself. By "that," she was referring to torturing myself with information about (basically) how disgusting the food system has become in the USA. Why? Because I'd rather know than die.

It hasn't been until the past few years as I was learning about all of these food related issues in college (I studied marine and environmental science) and also by my own exploration, that I began realizing how different the eating habits of my life were from my peers. My mom never fried anything she cooked, and I didn't eat processed foods. I recall stopping at an Arby's during a road trip with my grandpa and getting one of the standard roast beef sandwiches with cheese. I almost threw up because of the oily cheese, something my stomach had never known. Where I lived, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, there were two farm stands we frequented to get our fruits and vegetables during the local growing season. They were owned by two brothers - Joe and Eddy. Joe worked at the original Tarheel Produce stand in Currituck, on the mainland, and he could tell you where every single type of produce he was selling came from, who the farmer was, how long it would be in season and pretty much anything else you wanted to know. What does that boil down to? Everything I was eating was local and in season. Little did I know how rare that would become. Before a day at the beach, we'd stop at Eddy's stand, which was on the barrier island, and pick up fresh peaches, green beans and other munchies for the day.

Today I am so thankful for those experiences and have certainly been influenced by them when it comes to my choices. I've learned about the 100 mile diet - only eating foods that are grown within a 100 mile radius of you; about eating organically and why it's good for your body and the earth; about using household products that are as gentle as possible on the earth and our water systems when they go down our drains; and much, much more.

Thank you to those of you who read this blog. I began it as the place to post recipes, since several of my friends were asking me for healthy dinner ideas. I also want to use this space to integrate my green lifestyle and share that information with others. No matter where you stand in this "green revolution" we are finding ourselves in, and no matter how long you ride that wave, we cannot have healthy foods if we do not have a healthy earth. People are the only living creatures that are capable of making the choice to, well, make better choices. So if you aren't already, I hope that maybe you'll begin and that I can provide you with a little bit of education along the way.

1 comment:

Christina said...

It wasn't until I was out of the house I saw that how we were raised wasn't "the norm." I saw bits and pieces of it when we were younger, but thought nothing of it. Now, looking back at those comments of surprise that my parents were making meatballs that didn't come in a bag, frozen or complaints that we didn't have any chips, soda, or snacks constantly on hand make a lot more sense.

I've never thought of our family as super health conscious people, but I realize now that the way we were raised gave us a great foundation and I'm really glad that our mom's took the time and effort to introduce healthy and responsible food choices to us and avoid all the processed nasty stuff.