Archive for the ‘Yearning for More’ Category

Exciting Updates!

Well, I ran Warrior Dash again a couple of weeks ago and had a great time!  I wanted to win but came in 72nd (out of 779) which I am still pretty proud of!  Of course I camped, but this time for 3 days!  We ate so well it was ridiculous!  I love cooking on a campfire, the process of cooking over an open flame and the smokey taste of the food makes me so happy!  I remember when I was a kid and I lived in a tent in the woods for a couple of months and me and my friend became quite the little campfire cooks, although back then it was more Hamburger Helper and hotdogs than grilled garden veggies and whole-wheat pizzas 😦

It was nice to be away from the city for a few days and really gave me a chance to clear my head and focus on what I want in my life (a seemingly hard question for me to answer!).  I have completely decided to start preparing to leave for a few years to explore the organic farms of America through an organization called WWOOF.  It is going to take me some time (like over a year…really I know it will take more like 2.5) but I am dedicated to it and will do at least one thing every day to move closer to my goal.  I am very excited to visit different farms and learn how each works.  Fruits, vegetables, meats, I want to learn all I can!  I will collect recipes from different parts of the country and share them with you, of course!  I am especially excited about the food, to learn recipes using what is available in the garden and in different regions will really be interesting!  I can’t wait to meet the different people and to travel the States!  The reason I am thinking it will take 2 years before I can leave is because I want to tie up all my loose ends so I don’t have to come back until I am ready!  Maybe when I am done in the States I’ll venture out to places like Australia and New Zealand!  You know how badly I want to visit Australia!

I am also excited to tell you that I am looking into opportunities to test natural and organic products in order to give you some helpful feedback before you buy!  I think this would be a great direction for this blog to go in now that our first year is over!

Which leads me to you… what do you want from this blog??

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General Mills (currently represented on the OTA board by Craig Weakly of Small Planet Foods), H.J. Heinz Co. (invested in the Hain-Celestial Group), PepsiCo (Tropicana and Quaker produce a few organic products), and Kellogg’s (owns Kashi), joined a coalition of corporate giants – the “Coalition Against the Costly Labeling Law” – including chemical makers Monsanto and DuPont, agribusiness ConAgra, food processor Sara Lee, the pesticide lobbying group CropLife and the junk food lobbying group the Grocery Manufacturers Association, in spending some $5.5 million to defeat mandatory GMO labels.  – Organic Consumers Association; “Organic Spies Find Ties: Organic Trade” Association “Modified” By GMO Interests

Sign a petition here to get these influences out of the OTA.

I’m not one for participating in something like a food dump, but completely support those who organize and execute something like that.  Activism is what makes our country great; the people uniting to stand up to corporations or government to demand change!  I’m surprised that I am not the ring leader with megaphone in hand; seems like this would have been perfect for me as a child, what happened to me?  I’m ashamed to admit it but I am brainwashed by society and … actually do care what they think…?  I need to remedy this.  I need to be able to speak louder.  For now, my sister and I have started writing messages on our money, “Say NO to G.M.O’s”, etc.  Hey, people track dollar bills around the country, maybe they will look up GMO’s and get informed!  Today I decided I would print out some sort of GMO pamphlet and include it in each of my eBay auctions.   Tiny voice, I know, but it’s a start.

UGGGGH!!!

Sometimes I get so f’n frustrated with the BS surrounding my food choices and how hard it is to feed myself non-GMO foods!  Corporations can’t be trusted is pretty much the bottom line, so in my mind it is hard to trust even the Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods of the world.  I know you’ve read many a posts where I flip-flop between loving and hating the aforementioned brands.  I just browsed this discussion board: http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?topic=17608&uid=289934516904

I want to scream.  I want to scream so loudly and pointed that the Big Wigs in the offices hear me and do something to help their customers trust them!  Unfortunately even my voice isn’t that loud and I am not in the position to be boycotting the one place that helps me make this lifestyle possible.  I buy a lot of non-organic foods at TJ’s due to their claim of not using GMO’s in their name brand. 

I did find this campaign to ask Trader Joe’s to label their food non-GMO if in fact it is: Click here

Looks like today is going to be day full of more research.  I’ll be back!!

Narrowing

If I had to choose one word to describe my state of mind since July 3rd, it would be overwhelmed.  Ask anyone I know, this is not a common feeling for me, I break down projects and to-do lists like nobody’s business!  But with this I just feel like there is so much to learn and there are so many issues!  You can’t fight for everything, but how do you choose when all the issues are connected and equally important?  I feel like you should pick what moves you most, but that’s easier said than done!! 

Well, I think I decided what moves me most, Monsanto.  Narrowing that down to patenting of seeds (Round-up Ready & the suicide gene), the use of GM seeds and the wildfire of GM cross-contamination, including the devastation it is causing in other countries.  Monsanto will not be satisfied until all our seeds are genetically modified to suit the needs of their pocket books and they’ve created the monopoly that is inevitable if they are continued to be allowed to paten life and steal the livelihood of American farmers – not to mention the actual lives of farmers from other countries such as India. 

So there it is; patented GMO seeds (and anything with Monsanto’s name on it) – I’m coming for you. 

Research, research, research!

I’ve always enjoyed research, I know, I am odd.  But if you give me a topic, I will kill it with research.  Well, of course this food movement has a lot of info attached to it and it seems the research is endless.  I have learned a lot but I have also been very confused at times.  Not to mention how skeptical I am of everyone and everything!  I am also a natural organizer so I am yearning for a way to categorize and put all this info into its spot, like a quick reference guide or something.  BUT THERE IS SO MUCH!  I find myself clicking through hundreds (okay, maybe not hundreds!) of web pages, signing petitions, learning about one thing leads me to another; one question is answered uncovering 6 more!  My head is kind of spinning.  In the mess of all this, I realized, I am not perfect.  I am not.  I would like to say I haven’t eaten anymore than 5 items containing GMO’s since I started this, I realized today I have made a huge mistake and made it quite often… Just because it says ‘organic’ doesn’t mean it is.  I have to admit, I might have loosened up (yes, I know, it’s too early for that!) and just threw it in the bag if it said ‘organic’ not checking to see if it was certified USDA Organic 😦  I am also at a loss with Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s – I want to trust them but I am skeptical.  Trader Joe’s says anything with their name on it is GMO free.  I wish anything with their name on it had a “GMO Free” sticker!  I would feel much better.  And what about Whole Foods?  I haven’t found any statements about GMOs except in their “Private Lable” which I assume is “Whole Foods” and not 365.  So now I shy away from anything they have that is not in a box with an ingredients list.  Maybe I could go back and research this a little more, without being pulled in a million directions by other links and articles! 

*Update: Whole Foods 365 Brand foods are pretty much GMO-free, and those that are free have the Non-GMO Project Seal 🙂

 My parents over the last few weeks have made a huge change in their diets! Although they are not as restrictive as my sister and I, they are buying organic and really enjoying everything they eat!  My sister and I really enjoy eating out and we were very good about spending money on restaurant food and only did as a special treat, one that we looked forward to and back on for weeks!  Usually with the parents in town we eat out a lot but haven’t been able to this summer (my sister noticed the disappointment on our father’s face when we broke this news to him).  I am happy to say, thanks to http://www.eatwellguide.org/search/advanced we were able to search for restaurants that use organic and sustainable food, and we found THREE in our state!!  We visited one that was close to where my parents are staying (but far from where my sister and I live) It was a nice restaurant who bought locally and used organic foods; noting in the menu what the dish consisted of and where the ingredients came from!!!!  Great place for a first date (something we have been worried about.  Luckily neither of us are currently dating, but that can change at any moment!) The other is a restaurant/bar in the city which is close to us!  The last is Chipotle.  I have to say, my sister and I had a terrible Taco Bell addiction.  We are poor planners who don’t always (hardly ever) agree on what to eat, enter Taco Bell.  We ate there at least once a week (I admit to more than that).  Chipotle is a wonderful alternative to Taco Bell and our answer to fast food!  We munched happily on tacos filled with naturally raised meat and local produce (this is what Chipotle calls “Food with Integrity“).  I did wonder, after of course, where did the corn for their tacos shells come from?  I need to write to them and ask.

Random: I learned that quinoa is not pronounced “quin-o-ah” like I had thought but “keen-wah”.

I do still have this constant nag that I serve no purpose in this world today and I need to change that.  Renting apartments and making sure the books balance seem so trivial to me.  I am a waste of space, taking up valuable resources and doing nothing to improve the world.  In all my research I have found a million petitions to sign but nothing more to help.  I want to do something. I have to. I will not rest until I am happy with my efforts.

Day 17; Misc

My mom called me yesterday while they were doing errands, she was headed to Trader Joe’s for her food shopping, “Hopefully they have everything we need”.  I told her to read me her list and I confirmed they had everything she needed except the paper goods.  That wasn’t enough to detour her 🙂 

I’m noticing people want me to put a label on my new habit.  I can’t.  I don’t even have a catchy phrase for what I am doing, I call it “my new thing” or “this journey”.  I’m not going organic or becoming a vegetarian (or a vegan).  I am GMO-free though, that one thing for certain!  I have stopped craving meat and rarely ever eat it (although I still peruse the meat counter of my local Whole Foods but that’s only because all the butchers are soooo cute! lol)  I am much more comfortable buying organics because it takes the GMO guess-work out of it.  Shopping was hard enough before the change!  So until I figure this out, I will refrain from using labels – hell, I’ve never been one to fall within a certain group so I’m sure this won’t be any different! 

I watched The Future of Food last night and all I could say was “wow” when it ended.  I would suggest Food, Inc. to be the first of the ‘series’, if you will, as it touches on all the major issues and opens your mind for the rest to follow.  The Future of Food went into the agriculture issues and was very interesting and inspiring.  Each time I learn more or re-learn something I feel more empowered and want to make changes!  Last night I looked up jobs in the FDA, my specialty has always been infiltration LOL  Seriously though, I want to do something.  I wish I learned about this in high school, I would have went to college and became a scientist; I needed something to believe in and this would have changed my life – sooner.

This morning I bought some coconut milk for my cereal… I am eating it right now and NOT enjoying it!!  I thought the vanilla would put some flavor in my organic frosted (barely) mini wheats – its like a sweet vanilla-coconut candy.  I threw the end of it out 😦  Looking forward to lunch, always do until I get to it the fridge and see what I have LOL  Yesterday morning I realized I had nothing for lunch so I threw some tortolinis (spinach, mottz and walnut filled) with edemame and olive oil and some spices (this has been my go-to meal, I have eaten it cold at least once/day since I started this).  Yesterday I heated it up and it was really yummy, I also used Spike seasoning for the first time and enjoyed it.  I made the same today but with raviolis (can’t remember what they’re filled with, artichoke and something…)  For now I will eat a Stop and Shop organic brand (Nature’s Promise) snack bar…it was alright, not crazy about the taste of the honey they use but its organic and satisfied my sweet tooth, for now 🙂

So, I watched Food, Inc. 12 days ago…

It has changed my whole mindset!  I mean, I’ve always been lean and healthy but it was pure luck; I ate whatever I wanted, as much as I wanted and even though I seemed active, I rarely worked out.  As my 20’s rolled by, I started to notice my “winter weight” wasn’t loosing itself anymore.  About 2 years ago I was blessed with a free gym membership and began my first ever gym workouts.  I tend to go through phases (matter of fact, now that I think of it, my whole life has been a series of basically 2 phases on repeat… healthy and not-so-much-so lol).  When I am in “healthy mode” I am working out 3 days/week (20 min cardio, 30 min strength training) and I eat (what I considered) healthy meals.  When I am in, hmm, lets call it “don’t give a shit mode” I, well, don’t give a shit! I just eat what I am hungry for with no thought to portion or calorie count, let alone the physical components of my food.

About 6 months ago I started buying my meats at Whole Foods to avoid growth hormones.  The only organics I was buying were the “Dirty Dozen” (thin-skinned produce, ones that pesticides could easily penetrate).  Mind you, I am forever broke, all be it of my own doing, I didn’t have the money to shop organic. In these 6 months I’ve mostly been in “healthy mode”, I only eat fast food when it’s absolutely necessary – oh, I might have forgotten to mention, I HAVE to eat every 2-3 hours, 4 TOPS! I am a MONSTER without food! I also work two jobs (about 52 hours a week).  I have always taken frozen diet meals for lunch, for 10 years I’ve eaten them, every work day.  By the time I get home, cooking dinner is the last thing I want to do, and tend not to.  Barber stuffed chicken, Bartolli frozen meals, Celeste pizzas… notice a pattern? I FRICKEN LOVE FROZEN MEALS!!  And Whoppers 😦

Enter Food, Inc.  Forget about it!  Food surrounds my whole world now.  I can’t believe what I learned in that movie, I can’t fathom how much more there is to learn!  Its been 12 days and I have cut out all GMO’s from my shopping.  I decided to finished the food in my pantry and slowly start the turn.  Yeah right.  That box of Cheeze-its I was thoroughly enjoying hasn’t been touched in 10 days.  The box of frozen carrots with barley I had? Well, I cooked (nuked) it and as soon as I smelt it, my stomach turned and I threw it out, unopened.  So my passion has made it easy to stick to it but my stomach is forever wanting to be filled.  Follow me on my journey to completely change over my diet, mind and life.  I promise to make it waaay more interesting than all that get-to-know-me crap!