Sunday, August 30, 2009

What To Do About It

This may be the most controversial post I ever write. So get ready. You may be a little shocked and hate me at what I have to say here- but of course, I hope you don't!
Today I'm going to talk food ethics and budgeting and how it pertains to me.
Last week I read an article on Time.com about the "real cost of cheap food" and it really hit home with me. In a huge way. I haven't been able to see the movie Food, Inc. even though I am really looking forward to that coming out on DVD- I hope they do soon! Or at least put it On Demand (cable companies.. I hope you are reading this!) I have a genuine interest in the way our food is produced. I think it's a crazy process and sometimes I think it's all a big government conspiracy- and in fact, if you read the article or have seen Food, Inc. you might be agreeing with me right now.

Here's what I agree with in the article:
1. At a time when the nation is close to a civil war over health-care reform, obesity adds $147 billion a year to our doctor bills.

2. Sustainable food is also pricier than conventional food and harder to find.

3. As the developing world grows richer, hundreds of millions of people will want to shift to the same calorie-heavy, protein-rich diet that has made Americans so unhealthy — demand for meat and poultry worldwide is set to rise 25% by 2015 — but the earth can no longer deliver. Unless Americans radically rethink the way they grow and consume food, they face a future of eroded farmland, hollowed-out countryside, scarier germs, higher health costs — and bland taste. Sustainable food has an élitist reputation, but each of us depends on the soil, animals and plants — and as every farmer knows, if you don't take care of your land, it can't take care of you.

4. Farmers aren't the enemy — and they deserve real help. We've transformed the essential human profession — growing food — into an industry like any other.

5. Organic food continues to cost on average several times more than its conventional counterparts, and no one goes to farmers' markets for bargains.

Erin from I Walk In This World posted up her thoughts about this article. I agreed with everything she said including her "rebuttal" of the comment I left. Here's where we are getting shifty people.. This is the comment I posted- I read this article when it came out online last week (I think) and I absolutely agree with EVERY POINT made in the article! Especially- the last one- price is the factor. While I admit to buying the occasional sugary sweet snack, i tend to stock up on produce and meat and potatoes to make the meals around my house. Feeding four (4) people on 175-200 dollars a month (thats how much my food budget is people.. scary) is a daunting daunting thing. how often do i eat cereal for dinner because i dont “feel” like cooking? actually its more like because thats all i have left at the end of the week and i would rather let the kids or the hubz eat the good food. I buy meat on sale- cheapest i can find. i feel like sh*t morally for doing it, but until the food prices go down, i do what i can to get through. until they find a way to make organic, farm raised meat and organic produce as cheap as any other kind.. i have to buy what i can afford.
its a great article, and i really wish i could do more to support the cause, until then! i dream! lol


And here is what Erin said in response: A@ Please Don’t Eat Me - instead of buying discounted factory farm meat on your budget, you could easily substitute cost-effective vegetarian dishes full of beans, brown rice, and frozen veggies.

We do this in my house all the time.

Please don’t let your budget be the reason to excuse your choices. I live on a budget too. And we have VASTLY cut down on our meat consumption in order to make ends meet and not support the factory farming system.


And here we go!!! Girlfriend, I AGREE!!!! Definitely! I really and truly do! I do my best with the small budget we have to make sure that the bulk of our food is fresh fruit, veggies (ok so most are frozen.. but we still eat them- even the kids!), and yummy potatoes, and lots of rice. I think I buy ice cream for us once a month and rarely do we have any "snacky" things unless you count the rice krispie treats for the kids and the chips for Carlos. The kids eat like me, mostly vegetarian, plus some nights I'm making stuff like "breakfast for dinner". Like I said in my previous post I only eat meat a few times a week because 1. I don't really feel like I NEED it and 2. it's too much cash-ola.
My issue with the cost though is having a man at home who would rather kill himself than be a vegetarian. Meat at lunch and dinner is his thing and I can't make that choice to eat less meat for him. So when I have my limited funds to work with and I would rather make sure the rest of the food is decent- I go for the bulk buys and cheaper stuff for meat. I won't buy meat from a hole in the wall grocery store- however when Stop & Shop has their sales going on I stock up. I also buy frozen shrimp and fish from Target- they sell it in individually frozen bulk bags- $8.99 for 10 pieces of fish where as at a speciality store that $8.99 might cover one salmon steak. I never go for fast food (ignore the time I went during my trip to Baltimore desperate times...) so I'm not supporting the fast food industry.

Is this supporting the government funded corn farm industry and also supporting meat making plants that I don't necessarily agree with their ethics and processes? Yes, probably.
Do I feel like I should be setting more money aside towards the food budget so we can buy more sustainable veggies and meat products?
At this time in my life. No, I just can't. And I feel like a lot of people might be in the same boat. Might it seem wrong and selfish of us to not desire giving up the things we want to eat because we don't agree with the ethics? Is anyone going to compare this to something crazy like me believing slavery was a necessary evil? God I hope not! (And I hope PETA isn't reading this right now either!)
In my world I see people making the choice between paying the electric bill or buying food. Paying the doctor bill for an emergency room visit or putting gas in their car. Paying for child care or paying for heating oil. In today's economy people who were just skating by two years ago are now wondering how they will survive the winter. The older folks on Social Security are going to the grocery store and buying $20 dollars worth of food for the week - so they HAVE to buy the cheap stuff and I don't argue with that one.
What I hope to see is that either my (and everyone else's) financial situation turns around so I (we) can do more with my food buying than I (we) can right now or we can turn around the price of sustainable food so that everyone can support the cause.

The likelihood of either happening anytime in the next year?

Slim to none.

I do what I can with what I have unfortunately. And Erin, believe me I'm not trying to put down what you said in reply in any way- I hope this clarified what I was thinking about just a little bit. I love you!!!!!!

What do you guys think? Am I a quack? What are your views on this?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Notorious!!!!!

It's a dreary chilly day over here in lil ole RI (well I'm in MA at this particular moment but hey... same weather!) and I am just settling down for an afternoon of fun fun fun. It's almost the weekend which means... it's.... well I'm slightly boring- so just nothing! What are you all doing for the weekend?

I'm not sure if you guys know my fall from grace as a vegan, but several years ago I decided to be a fanatical vegan. I say fanatical lightly- I wasn't a lunatic, I just refused to touch meat at all. I thought it tasted gross and smelled gross. I survived off of Amy's meals and salads and veggie soup at work. I drank soy milk like there was vodka. I probably weighed about 105 pounds. And guess what? I fainted all the time. I was sick all the time. My blood sugar was so low my doctor told me to carry around lollipops! I didn't connect one with the other until my doctor (who was also a hippie who told me to not wear underwear and a skirt to let the who-ha breathe....) said she believed in the Blood Type diet. I have a Type O blood type (keep that in mind guys.. for emergencies!) Basically I'm supposed to eat meat, potatoes, and veggies. And stay away from soy and fake stuff. I was so grossed out I refused to believe that I should be following THAT kind of diet! I chalked it up to her being a hippie!
Well one night I went to a Brazilian buffet with some aardvark I was dating at the time. I got my veggie plate- with some side dishes and sat down. Well in a Brazilian buffet there is a guy who comes around with a giant skewer of meat...all kinds, pork, chicken, beef, there is fish, sausage.... each skewer was more succulent and indulgent than the last one. OMG. OMG. OMG!!! For some reason- I was drooling! I went for it- and had a few small pieces of the pork. I think I almost passed out I was so excited.
WHERE HAD THIS BEEN ALL MY LIFE??!!!!!????!!!
And there you have it folks- my life as a vegan was officially OV-AH! Since then I've been chowing my way through the meat department and have literally had no fainting episodes and my blood sugar normalized within a month of eating meat and cutting out all the fake meat stuff. I still don't eat fake meat and I don't do soy unless it's ice cream or yogurt (and still that is rare). Today I probably eat meat about three times a week but don't really do beef unless it's in a burger form- so it's not an "every day- every meal" thing.
You guys must be sitting there shaking your heads like We needed to know this why??? Well, I have the tendency to de-veganize my food. See, I still stay away from dairy. So when I get something that is dairy-free it's often Vegan too. I make egg salad or tuna salad with my Nasoya "veggie" mayo. I will make minestrone with organic veggie broth and throw sausage in. I make a yummy cheeseless veggie pizza and put chicken on top. The list goes on and on... But hey at least I didn't say I put bacon on my brownies or something!

Here is my latest conquest. The picture is down right crappy and I'm sorry. But I had Amy's Black Bean Veggie soup. And... what's that floating in there?

Yep- thats sausage! YUMMMMMM. It added a nice bite to the soup and has literally kept me full from 12 till about 4:30.. usually I am starving at 3 pm!
Oh and today I finally polished off by jar of White Chocolate Wonderful Peanut Butter- GOD I love that stuff!!!




So again, I'm not up to much this weekend, so have fun everyone! Glad we can all be friends in public again!

****** Um have NO idea why this is still draft form!!!****** posting now! haha

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Crazy Dance

Girls, Guys, I have never ever felt so relieved in all my life. I was seriously stressing the whole private blog thing- I thought my readers would be gone, I wouldn't be able to expand, then Food Buzz emailed me and smacked me upside the head and I was like- DAYUMMM. I need to switch to something else! I will keep the other blog open to "registered readers" for archive purposes and I promise I will do a massive video post and move all the vids over to here too! But for everyone else- I'm brand new baby! And I love it! Can we make T-Shirts???
But thank you so much for making the switch with me! It means SO much!!!
OH AND JUST TO BUTT IN FOR A SEC- I literally had NO clue my profile pic matched the name of the blog until I was talking to Carlos about it- and we looked at the pic and he said, "oh cool the hippo is trying to eat you..." I am brilliant without even realizing it!

OK so y'all know I've been slackin' in the video department right???
Well your prayers have been answered- here we are with another video production! I swear to God I have to come up with a name for our production company... This time around it was Peanut DJ'ing, and my sister doing the recording.

Honestly, I hope you guys like them because I really had fun doing this, even though my legs feel like rubber right now. And I can barely walk. And after doing the video three times because of two mess-ups I collapsed (you can see it! lol) out of sheer exhaustion. It was brutal! But hey.. at least I had some crazy music to dance to!

ENJOY!!!! Especially the instruction vid part. I never ever claimed to be a professional on here!!!!


Frustration

Okie Dokie.. here I am back again. Don't call it a comeback!
Sorry I keep ditching you all! It's much harder to motivate myself to write when I don't have my laptop ready to go 24/7 I think- I should just come home and plug it in anyway! If I am looking at the bag, I won't open it. But if I take it out of the bag, I will turn it on! There's my action plan I guess!

Well, my weekend was smashingly good! On Friday night Carlos and I went out to celebrate my birthday- we went and had some Spanish food- same place we always go to and we ordered the same thing we always order- rice and beans, chicken stew, and plantains. I ate as much as I could- I love that place and it loves me back! Except for tonight I guess! I kid you not, within a half an hour of leaving the joint my legs were absolutely covered in hives and it only got worse as the night wore on and by the time I woke up on Saturday, they were really bad! I suffered through the rest of the day with only Claritin and some cortizone cream. They kind of died down until the next day when I went to a church BBQ (yea that's right.. CHURCH!).

Here are some shots...


The kids were anxious to get in the pool can you tell?
Those two plates were mine, multiply that egg roll by about 5 or 6 and you got how many I ate! My dessert plate was also multiplied a couple of times.

At about 6:30 or so I started to get really naseaus and woozy so we headed home. I took an allergy pill and crashed on the couch barely staying awake so I could watch the Criminal Minds marathon on A&E. I never made it to work on Monday and dragged ass to the doctors office where they diagnosed me as "we have no idea what happened" (oh but I do.. please see the pictures above!!!) and gave me steroids. I feel better now though! So that is a good thing!

In other news though- my sister was dealing with a stressful situation and because she is my babysister, I stepped in to help- and then had to slowly back out because I realized I was dealing with a bully (a big fat white girl at that!) who was trying to go all tough and cool while we tried to state the facts- get the truth out. It didn't work- so my sister is pressing charges today. I'm proud she isn't backing down and I hope that girl knows it! Hmph! I guess if you look on Facebook you might be able to catch pieces of the battle... it's almost laughable in a way- but I totally felt like I had ROID RAGE. : ) Gotta love steroids!

In MORE news, I got this email from Food Buzz this morning.
Hello Amy,

How are you? How monthly compliance reports indicate the your food blog url that we have on record is “invited readers only” and therefore we are not recording ad impressions. Unfortunately we cannot allow you to be a part of the Featured Publisher program with a read only blog.
The url that we have on record is… http://whatdoieatnow.blogspot.com/

THANK YOU FOOD BUZZ FOR YOUR SUPPORT IN MY DEALING WITH A CRAZY EX-BABY DADDY!
Now I really have to figure out what to do with the blog! Comment moderation is a good idea, but I don't think B-D would leave comments, just look and see what my plans were and one of these days, show up while I'm there. I'm horrified to think of what I might do/say if that day comes. That's why I kinda didn't even want him reading it you know? Now it's really time to come up with a new name for myself and go back to public!

And in one more news front (dang I'm like the Today show!) here is what we ate for dinner last night:


It was delish! I got a cooking lesson from Carlos too- Rebeca you know what I'm talking about! Goya Adobo on everything! What was I thinking to make meat without it? Anyway we had a jolly good time last night but thank god fell asleep early! I needed the sleep!

I have something special going on tonight for you guys for tomorrow or Friday- hope you are getting excited!!!!!!