Monday, August 9, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
In the grand scheme of life, a little weight gain is not a big deal, I know, but I haven't been able to get away from this sinking feeling of utter defeat. After all, hadn't I made a serious pact with myself to be healthier just a year and a half ago? Two years before that, hadn't I taken off almost 15 lbs. through Weight Watchers and vowed to keep it off? Don't I say every New Year's Day "This year is going to be different?" What exactly is my problem??
Just in time to coincide with my (and almost everyone else on the planet's) New Year's resolutions to be healthier in 2010, Michael Pollan (renowned author of The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, whom I've spoken about on here before), has come out with a new book that promises to give us all easy-to-understand-and-implement food guidelines to live by, 64 rules in all. The book is Food Rules: An Eater's Manual and, I have to say, I'm intrigued. In an interview with New York Times writer Tara Parker-Pope, Pollan seemed to nail my problem right on the head:
"[I]n the end, so much of the discussion about nutrition is a way to avoid talking about how much people are eating. People would rather talk about anything else than quantity."Yes! That's exactly it. It would seem that what I have been willfully ignoring is the fact that I'm just eating too damn much. I've been putting too much on my plate (and finishing every bite) and eating when I'm not really hungry, like when I'm bored or procrastinating. (That last one is a big work hazard for freelancers who work from home. The stocked refrigerator and pantry shelves and a kitchen full of handy appliances are just far too conveniently located.)
In Pollan's NYT's interview, he also mentioned the flack he's gotten for an eating rule he included on the cover of his book In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto - "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
"The adverb 'mostly' has been the most controversial. It makes everybody unhappy. The meat people are really upset I'm taking a swipe at meat eating, and the vegetarians are saying, 'What's with the "mostly?" Why not go all the way?' You can't please everyone. In a way that little word is the most important. It's not all or nothing. Mostly. It's about degree. But in the whole food discussion, I've learned the most from that, that little 'ly' and people's reaction to it."This really resonated with me because I feel like I get the same reactions to my Meatless Monday posts sometimes - meat eaters and vegetarians alike are offended. But I'm not trying to criticize anyone else's eating habits or philosophies; I'm just trying to find my own personal balance between that 'all' and 'nothing.'
Finding that balance is definitely a struggle. I've mentioned before that I sometimes wish I could go fully vegetarian, but it's years later and I'm still not any closer to making that commitment. Maybe I never will. My husband has been talking about it more lately though too. As I've mentioned before, partners can be allies and saboteurs when it comes to eating habits, so maybe his influence - or our combined influence on each other - will lead us more in the vegetarian direction. And if he doesn't sway me, maybe another book I recently added to my to-read list will --
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. A description of the book on Goodreads.com says:
"Jonathan Safran Foer spent much of his teenage and college years oscillating between carnivore and vegetarian. As he became a husband and a father, he kept returning to two questions: Why do we eat animals? And would we eat them if we knew how they got on our dinner plates?"
Again, I'm intrigued - and I'll be sure to share my reviews of both these books with you once I've read them, . . . which, unfortunately, may not be for a couple of months because I'm up to my ears in work right now, I have a monthly Amnesty International book club obligation, and I've already got a list of other books I want to read that's about as long as my arm. Then again, Pollan's book is only 112 pages long, so I should be able to squeeze that in sooner than later. So, stay tuned!
Other Meatless Monday posts
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?
I went to Hemingway’s childhood home and museum, the President Nixon Museum and childhood home, the President Hayes Museum, the Frank Lloyd Wright home and studio, Griffith Observatory, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the San Fernando mission, the Morton Arboretum, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Tampa, and a Hindu wedding ceremony.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Not really, but I try not to be hard on myself for not accomplishing things in an arbitrary 365-day window.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Two of my sister-in-laws gave birth to beautiful nieces.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
5. What countries did you visit?
6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
More energy, patience, creative inspiration.
7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Jan 20 – (crap, I can’t remember if I have the date right) – niece (Avery) was born
Feb 6 – niece (Olivia) was born
May 31 – surprise birthday brunch
Jun 26 – cousin-in-law (Denise) got married
Jul 11 – cousin-in-law (Katie) got married
Oct 1 – moved from Moorpark to Montrose
Nov 15-16 – Rita’s visit
Nov 26 – Dec 2 – Husband’s parents’ visit
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Finding a cool new place to live and moving was challenging and fun. I also finished some big projects that I think will go on to do very well as printed texts or journal articles. I don't know that I'd call those "achievements" (like great goals or ideals I strove to realize) - maybe accomplishments would be a better word (they were big tasks and I think I did them well).
9. What was your biggest failure?
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Had an evil stomach flu
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Nothing exciting. I’ve been trying to be more mindful of the types of purchases I make and to buy only things I really need. (Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping is on my to-read list!)
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My husband’s – he got a promotion. Woo-hoo! Well-deserved.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Glenn Beck – that man is a knob.
14. Where did most of your money go?
To pay off debt.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Finding a new place to live
16. What song will always remind you of 2009?
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
b) thinner or fatter?
Fatter – same answer as last year. . . . not a good trend.
c) richer or poorer?
Probably roughly the same.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Exercising, taking photos, and keeping in touch with friends.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Complaining, eating, and procrastinating.
20. How did you spend Christmas?
Quietly at home. No holiday travel for us this year – yay!
21. Did you fall in love in 2009?
Same answer as last year - I didn’t ‘fall,’ but my love grew deeper.
22. What was your favorite TV program?
“Arrested Development” – I’ve been watching re-runs and falling in love even though I know I’m going to be so disappointed when I come to the last episode and there aren’t any more to watch or wait for. Although. . . I hear there’s going to be a movie!
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
24. What was the best book you read?
It’s hard to choose just one, so here are my top choices:
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
26. What did you want and get?
A move closer to civilization
27. What did you want and not get?
Nothing (see answer to #11)
28. What was your favorite film of this year?
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
My parents threw me a surprise birthday brunch with family back in my hometown. I turned . . . 35. Yikes.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Spending more time vacationing, hiking, going to the beach, and pursuing creative projects.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
Practical – I work from home, so most of the time anything comfortable (usually t-shirts and jeans) works for me.
32. What kept you sane?
My flexible job and my supportive husband.
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Neil Patrick Harris – so very talented
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
The Tea Party nutjobs make my brain want to explode.
35. Who did you miss?
My friends and family back east.
36. Who was the best new person you met?
My answer is a team rather than just one person – the editor and the author duo I met in December for a new project I just took on.
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.
When you are faced with conflict, compromise is a great goal , . . . but it’s not always possible.
38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
I’m never any good with pulling lyrics out of thin air, so I’ll just choose this song that is apropos for the new year:
So this is the new year,
And I don’t feel any different.
The clanking of crystal
Explosions off in the distance (in the distance)
So this is the new year.
And I have no resolutions
For self-assigned penance,
For problems with easy solutions.
So everybody put your best suit or dress on.
Let’s make believe that we are wealthy for just this once,
Lighting firecrackers off on the front lawn
As thirty dialogues bleed into one.
I wish the world was flat like the old days.
Then I could travel
Just by folding a map -
No more airplanes, or speedtrains, or freeways.
There’d be no distance that can hold us back. [x3]
So this is the new year. [x4]
my answers from last year
How would you respond to these questions? In the comments section here, share your own answers or direct me to your own blog where you've posted them.