5.23.12 To Your Health
I've lured you here today with this picture of mouthwatering chocolate meringues but it's just a ruse to make you sit still for a bit of a rant. A number of things converged in the past couple of weeks and I've really got to share this stuff with you. I had the opportunity to attend the Brooklyn Food Conference in Fort Greene and sit on a panel to discuss "women's place at the table." Frankly, I was a bit miscast as this conference is heavily oriented toward policy and the other panelists were talking about single mothers, the struggling poor and disenfranchised immigrants (and me, with my penchant for expensive ingredients!), but I was able to chime in a bit about the importance of gardening. I remembered this article, about a single mother of three who had to go back to the land to feed her family—in Brooklyn!—and wound up eating better than ever before for much less money. The idea of community gardens—even a few raised beds for growing vegetables—could help change the lives of people eating in food deserts. Then I read about Seattle's new project, creating a 7-acre "edible forest" of fruit-bearing trees and plants as part of an effort to rehabilitate their local ecosystem, and I began to have some hope for the future.
But then, I watched the HBO documentary produced by my friend Sarah, "The Weight of the Nation," (available free of charge on You Tube and HBO's site) and felt truly sickened. I was even a little shocked that one of the main things it counseled to help people start to reverse the horrifying trend towards obesity and diabetes was giving up soda. Giving up soda. This country is numb. Anesthetized. We are so disengaged from our bodies, mired down in a swamp of denial and instant gratification, that giving up soda seems like an important step. Instead, I think it should be mandatory for everyone to watch Simply Raw, a film documenting how a bunch of obese diabetics totally reversed their conditions by following a raw diet for 30 days.
More fruits and vegetables, my friends. More sprouts and seeds. Don't know what to have for breakfast? Eat an apple and a handful of walnuts. Tired of cooking dinner every night? Make a huge salad with every vegetable in your fridge, drizzle it with good olive oil and lemon juice, sprinkle a little cheese on if you like. Done.
Last week I heard Florence Williams talk about her new book, "Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History," on FreshAir and it really set me back on my heels. (Listen to the podcast, here.) We've all heard the horror stories about toxins showing up in breast milk, but that's not the half of it. Little girls are developing breasts earlier and earlier—why? In large part because of all the plastics in our environment. Many of them mimic estrogen! BPAs—the chemicals we use to make plastics harder—are a big factor. It's what water bottles are made from, what lines our cans of food, etc. You're not being a crazy hippie to pay attention to this stuff, my friends. You're just being responsible and proactive.I don't mean to bring you down, but I do want you to be aware. To really connect the dots between what you put in and on your body and your quality of life. It's a very direct relationship. There is nothing more primal or basic. I'm not saying you shouldn't eat the occasional delicious chocolate meringue cookie. In fact, here's the recipe again.