Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Quote: "Beware of what you eat - you are on your own"

Groan.............Between:

(1) the mercury detected in some products that contain high-fructose corn syrup,

(2) the ongoing debate surrounding the safety of the chemical bisphosphenol-A (BPA) in many plastic containers and lining of metal cans that come in contact with our food and/or beverages,

(3) the increased amounts of inorganic phosphate being added to a wide variety of processed and fast foods that is harmful to people with end stage renal disease plus early animal studies have shown increased dietary phosphorus intake can promote lung cancer,

(4) purchasing "healthy" whole grain tortillas only to read the label more closely at home to see they contained over 500 mg of sodium per single tortilla, which is a huge amount !! as we all should be reducing our sodium intake to less than or equal to 2,000 milligrams per day,

(5) seeing convenience pancakes recently advertised on TV really made me "steam". Why? Pancakes can easily and quickly be made at home for pennies with ingredients you likely already have on hand, you can quickly make your own inexpensive convenience pancake mixes for future use (read my waffle mix recipe), your own recipe could easily be much healthier (higher in fiber, lower in sodium and phosphorus, have healthy fats, i.e., no partially hydrogenated or trans fats), you would not be contributing to the depletion of our precious oil resources by purchasing a plastic jug to which you "just add water, shake, and pour" but then put into the landfill or recycle bin, plus making pancakes from scratch with kids is both fun and educational if you save this activity for a morning when you all have more time, and finally,

(6) the massive and on-going peanut product recalls due to salmonella contamination,

maybe the following comment by Senator Tom Harkin at a recent Agricultural Committee meeting is not too far-fetched.

"Beware of what you eat. You are on your own",
Senator Tom Harkin
.

Following my groan is first a long sigh.............and then the sound (whatever that might be) of determination and commitment. The more I learn about our current food system (from f"arm to fork"), the more I want to organically grow, make, and cook my own food as much as possible to optimize my health, that of my family, my community, and our planet.

How? By eating way down on the food chain with simply prepared meals containing minimally processed foods produced by as many local sources as possible, using ways that promote sustainability of our earth's natural resources (especially our soil - read the book Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations by David Montgomery for a full appreciation of our planet's soil, a very precious natural resource), as much of the time as possible. Full disclosure time - I don't think I can ever give up some foods or ingredients that come from other locations and/or climates (olive oil just for starters), but in general, our entire food system (again from "farm to fork") is going to have to do a major "make-over" before I pull items off the grocery store shelf without thinking about a wide spectrum of concerns such as safety, nutrient content, unnecessary and even potentially harmful additives, cost, energy use, and product packaging as just a few questions.

But are you on your own? No not at all, because I am thinking about these things, making my food decisions based on as much information as I can find (with as much brain power as I can muster to think of and integrate the multiple details to consider), and I both enjoy and care about sharing my thoughts and experiences on my blog.

So please don't feel alone and overwhelmed. Instead, take a deep breath plus one or two or three steps forward to create the time and space in your life to grow to the point where you feel good about and enjoy what you are eating, the true foundation of health.

Change (i.e. growth) leading to health and wellness is a process, not a single event. However, it does start with a desire, caring, and then taking that first step. I'm reminded of the "tag line" on my blog - "Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row", i.e., step, step, step, step. You are not alone at all, but in fact are part of a very large community whose ever-widening base of members (not just cancer survivors) are choosing to take back their food to truly enjoy it while also knowing that they are cultivating health and wellness on many different levels and in many different places.

Inch by inch, row by row, enjoy your growth, your cooking time, your food, and your health!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Diana,

THIS is exactly why I cook recipes out of my grandmothers 1908 cookbook as well as eat as balanced a diet (YOUR diet) as possible (organic meat 2 days a week, fish 2 days a week and vegetarian 2 days a week, extra day is leftovers...a TRUE omnivore). I don't trust the processed food not to mention the TASTE is horrible. Take care and God bless.

Rhonda

Ashley said...

Amazing. Nice work. The soil. It's all about the soil. I have had that hit home as I take numerous food and environment classes. I just read "The Dust Bowl" and I am currently reading "The Essential Agriculture Reader" which I recommend. I really feel these issues are coming to light. Keep fighting the good fight. The blog is great! -Ashley

Anonymous said...

Diana,

What are your thoughts on this article?

http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/02/18/foods.future/index.html

Diana Dyer said...

What are my thoughts about this article?
http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/02/18/foods.future/index.html

Yes, individualized nutritional advice (i.e., nutritional genomics) is the future, the same concept as the desire to be able to individualize cancer therapies based on the specific biology of a person's tumor. However, a full understanding of how to put this goal into practice is not all the way there yet. However, it is a field of intense research. Here is one website to learn more: http://nutrigenomics.ucdavis.edu/nutrigenomics/