Michael Pollan’s book, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” outlines how something as simple as what we eat for dinner can have serious implications for all of us politically, economically, psychologically, and even morally. The book has inspired people all over America to change the way they eat; not just for their own health, but for the health of the earth and everyone who lives on it. And in my opinion, one of the simplest and most effective ways to change your eating habits is to become more aware of where your food is coming from: how its made, where its made, when its made, who makes it, and how all of these factors affect people, animals and the earth.
But enough about that. This blog isn’t some hippy-dippy space for me to rant about my causes. One of my biggest goals, though, is to eat fewer processed foods and really gain an understanding of where the food I eat comes from.
Eating locally is one of the easiest ways to do this. My boyfriend and I have started shopping at our local farmer’s markets. It’s amazing, really. Just this past Sunday, we bought most of our groceries for the week (fruits and veggies, meat, bread, spices, pasta, even soap!) directly from the farmer that grew them, the ranchers that raised them or the artisans that made them. We talked to all of these people and were able to ask questions about the food, what’s in it, and where it’s from. Try doing that at your neighborhood grocery store!
This “go local” craze seems like a walk in the park. Literally, the farmer’s market is at a park! In reality, though, it will take some serious effort to keep up this lifestyle. We went to the farmer’s market. We went to Whole Foods. We went to another local health food store. We went to our neighborhood grocery store. Then, after we got home, we went BACK to the grocery store in a mad dash, racing the countdown until dinner, to get items we had forgotten during our marathon grocery-shop! We’ll definitely need to work on our planning and organization skills to stick with this goal, because I can’t spend 3 hours grocery shopping every weekend.
Another obstacle is money. This stuff is NOT cheap. $7/lb for ground beef? But I can get it $2/lb at the grocery store! We’ve decided that we are definitely going to have to decrease the amount of meat we eat each week, which might pose a teeeeeny little problem for me: I am ALWAYS hungry. Protein is the thing that keeps me going between meals and snacks. I know there are alternative sources of protein. What are your favorites? Right now all I have are beans. Lots of beans. (And if you’re curious about why local/organic/natural foods are so much more expensive, I encourage you to watch the documentary Food, Inc.)
Now that I’ve bought all of my yummy local groceries to prepare delicious homemade meals, the HUGE question I’m asking myself is, “BUT WHAT ABOUT WHEN I WANT TO GO OUT TO EAT?!?!”. I have no delusions about my goal. I know I wont be able to eat 100% local right from the start, or even years down the road. There are restaurants around that have a focus on local foods on their menus, but what about the ones that don’t? Should I feel like a hypocrite for eating at these places? Should I feel like I’m taking a step backwards from my eating-local lifestyle?
All you locavores out there: How do you do it (while keeping yourself sane)? I’ll keep you posted on my progress (which includes a soon-to-be-built square foot garden – keep an eye out for my next post!).
As a kid, Dr. Seuss’s “Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!” was my favorite book. After the narrator suggests a number of ways in which Marvin can, “go, go, GO!” I would yell the infamous line, “Marvin K. Mooney, will you please go now!” with all of the dramatic frustration that a four year-old can muster.
A lesser known tidbit about this book is that in 1974 Art Buchwald of The Washington Post published a version of the book substituting “Marvin K. Mooney” with former U.S. President “Richard M. Nixon.” Ten days later, Nixon resigned. You can read more about this here and here (read the original Washington Post article here).
To keep the New Year’s theme going, I would like to look at the flipside of the New Year’s list of goals some of us posted earlier this month. As we eagerly and optimistically welcome into 2011 a slew of new goals, good habits and earnest promises to ourselves, what negative things are we asking to leave? To what “Marvin K. Mooney’s” do we need to demand a farewell in order to become our fabulous 2011 selves?
“*Poor body image* will you please go now!
The time has come.
The time has come.
The time is now.
I don’t care how.
You can go by foot.
You can go by cow.
*Procrastination* will you please go now!
You can go on skates.
You can go on skis.
You can go in a hat.
I don’t care.
You can go
You can go
On a Zike-Bike
If you like.
If you like
You can go
In an old blue shoe.
Just go, go, GO!
Please do, do, do, DO!
*Losing my temper* I don’t care how.
*Sleeping past my alarm*
Will you please
You can go on stilts.
You can go by fish.
You can go in a Crunk-Car
If you wish.
If you wish
You may go
By lion’s tale.
Or stamp yourself
And go by mail.
*Driving too fast* Don’t you know
The time has come
To go, go, GO!
Get on your way!
Please *not thinking before I say* You might like going in a Zumble-Zay.
You can go by balloon . . .
You can go by camel
In a bureau drawer.
You can go by bumble-boat
. . . or jet.
I don’t care how you go.
I don’t care how.
*Nagging my husband* Will you please
I meant . . .
The time had come
So . . .
*making excuses for not kicking bad habits* WENT.”
So maybe it doesn’t rhyme and it definitely doesn’t flow as well as Dr. Suess’s version, but it’s a fun way for me to say goodbye to my old ways. And it’s still really REALLY fun to yell, “Will you please go now!” What are your Marvin K. Mooney’s?
This sums up my 2011 goals. I summed it up in Italian, in case you noticed, because that’s where I’m headed this summer. After studying French for eight years during high school and college (and by the way, my last French class was 10 years ago) and visiting Paris for the first time last year, I have shifted my sights southeast of La Tour Eiffel and am planning a belated honeymoon to Roma.
But that fast forwards us to July and it’s only Jan. 3. I didn’t make a new year’s resolution, but I far too easily can imagine a smiling, happy and healthy me on Dec. 31, 2011 toasting a year gone by that was full of productive, enriching, stimulating and selfless acts. Though I couldn’t begin to tell you what these acts might be. I just know that I want to make that darn toast.
Which leads me to my personal LA Girls quote. “A goal without a plan is just a wish” (that’s by author Antoine St. Exupery). So here’s my plan, as it falls under imparare, giocare and dare.
Imparare (to learn) 1. Learn basic Italian – I am basic enough in French that I could vacation there without uttering a word of English to any Parisian. I don’t dare hope to get to that level in Italian, but I loved the experience I had in Paris and speaking the language was a huge part of that experience. If I can learn enough to order food, go shopping and know whether something is on the left or the right side of the street (or of me for that matter), I’ll be able to check this goal off of my list.
2. Learn what the next phase of my career will be – This is another aspect of my life to which I want to get to the bottom. I know, I know, there are so many cheesy quotes that tell me that getting there is half the fun and that it’s the journey, not the destination, etc. I’ve been pigeon-holed into one career path since high school. I’ve gone quite successfully down that path, but I am certain that I ‘m ready for a change. Or a shift at the very least. I draw a blank when I try to think of something else I could do. Which tells me that this is exactly why I need to do it.
Giocare (to play) 1. Go to Italy – This one is easy. I want to play in Rome, Florence and Venice. Do I need to explain why?
2. Spend more time filling my fun meter – I think it’s safe to say that women in their 30’s tend to let a sense of duty pinch off the opening to their fun meters. I know I have. I have a salary to make, a house to clean, a figure to keep slim, a car to maintain, a dog to care for, a husband to put before myself…the list goes on. While these are all things for which I am thankful to have, I am going to be kinder to me by letting myself sleep until noon, get lost in a book on a rainy Sunday, eat the hot wings I am craving and get a little drunk at happy hour (with a responsible person to pick me up, of course).
Dare (to give) 1. Give more and better time – Instead of spreading myself thin with the responsibilities I mentioned earlier, I’m going to give more time to the people in my life who make it a priority to do the same for me. Not only will I give more time, I’ll make it better time. Rather than grabbing a rushed cup of coffee together, let’s try making a new recipe we both thought sounded good or tagging along on each other’s Saturday errands to make it more fun. Another cheesy quote – quality, not quantity.
2. Give more encouragement – In a world in which people are quick to offer criticism, nothing goes further than a word of encouragement. Unfortunately, bosses and even other family members too often are full of the former and far too stingy with the latter. Offering a compliment or even a text message to say, “Good luck today on your (fill in the blank),” can change the mood of someone’s day – even yours.
I’m not a writer. I’m certainly not a blogger. And I’m definitely not one to share my every life moment, especially with the entirety of cyberspace! I can’t deny that I love being a part of The Life Anonymous Girls, though, and it would be rude to make Freckles maintain this blog’s awesomeness all on her own. So, here I am! Trying to add a tiny bit of awesomeness, and probably a whole lot of babbling.
There isn’t a more perfect time than New Year’s Eve to set goals. So what do I want to accomplish in 2011?
First and foremost, I want to figure out if the norm will be to say “twenty-eleven” or “two-thousand-eleven”. For the past year I’ve said “two-thousand-ten”, but I feel like part of a minority. We all need to come to a consensus here.
The rest of my goals, like most people’s, can be outlined using fortune cookie messages. I save ALL of my fortunes, mostly because they all seem to suit my life perfectly! Yes, I know they are made to suite everyone’s lives perfectly, but whatever. At least I don’t read a daily horoscope.
Here are my top three fortunes from this year:
1. “Your many hidden talents will become obvious to those around you.”
Great! If any of you are aware of any hidden talents I have, please let me know. I’m at a point in my life, like most any other girl my age, where I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. I’m just floating through life hoping my true calling will magically present itself to me. I’m not delusional; I know this wont come easily. But in two-thousand-eleven, I want to poke and prod myself (metaphorically!) and really try to figure out what my talents are and how to apply them to a career, hobby, charity, etc… How does one release secret, hidden talents?
2. “You will make a change for the better before the end of the year.”
Not gonna lie, I was banking on this one before the end of 2010. In my head, this fortune applied to getting a new job. Now, I don’t HATE my job, but I certainly don’t love it. It’s been great for the past (almost) two years. I’ve learned a lot and had a ton of fun. But, I’ve outgrown my training wheels and need to take them off before I get stuck riding with them forever. If I don’t have a new job by this time next year, it better be because I won the Millionaire Raffle, invested my winnings wisely and am retired.
3. “You will always be surrounded by true friends.”
This is always a toughie. My whole life, I’ve made an effort to only surround myself with genuine people who make a positive difference in my life. I really don’t even bother with people who don’t live up to a pretty high standard I’ve created over the years. For the most part, this has worked for me. After all, quality is more important than quantity! I love my friends and there isn’t a single one I would ever want to lose or replace. Throughout the coming year, I will make a solid effort to nurture these friendships to keep them going strong. And just maybe, hopefully, I’ll meet someone new who fits my stringent friendship requirements!