Feb 102017
 

Michael and I recently watched a documentary series on Netflix called “Cooked.” It was done by Michael Pollan, of “In Defense of Food” and “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” fame.

While I wasn’t a huge fan of his books (granted, I read them a long time ago and maybe if I re-read them now I’d feel differently?), I really enjoyed the documentary series. I found him more compelling and interesting in the TV show than on paper. Go figure.

It’s in four parts, each have a theme and tell the history of cooking and discuss issues that face humans for the future of food. A common threat — processed foods and the growing number of people with Type 2 Diabetes.

“Humans have been cooking since prehistoric times. But cuisine only developed when pots and pans were created that could stand up to the heat of fire. That made it possible to combine ingredients, creating flavor combinations that were unique to specific places.”

I really liked that each part of the series took place in a different part of the world and gave insight into the different cultures and histories of food there.

Fire – This episode began in Australia with aboriginal people who go into the bush to reclaim their old tribal ways with hunting and cooking in the wild– with fire, obviously. It also told the story of a Pitmaster in the American south who learned how to BBQ as a child.

Be forewarned — there were a few scenes that might contain animal slaughter (humane). I left the room at those moments because I have a hard time watching that stuff. 

“They discuss the cultural history of the Aboriginal people, how they left their cultural lands thereby changing their diet. At the time when they left their native lands, changing to the western diet, they developed all the metabolic diseases common in our culture. When they went back to their cultural eating styles, removing fast foods and sugar from their diets, their health markers dramatically improved within six weeks.” (source)

That was really shocking to me (and I wanted to hear more about that but the episode didn’t spend too much time on that).

Water – This episode took place in India and Mumbai. It was interesting to see how the processed food market of the US was invading India and so many people there were eating junk food and fast food and soda, instead of the traditional foods that they used to COOK themselves.

This episode also talked about the birth of processed foods/fast foods in America–the TV Dinner! Spam! Everything processed! It was interesting, and frightening, to see the history and the old footage of commercials from the 50’s.

“The average American currently spends just 27 minutes a day on food preparation. That’s half the amount of time that was spent cooking in 1965.”

Processed foods were actually developed during war time to feed the troops, and then that carried over to the American diet.

It’s still true today–the worse the food, the cheaper it is. Which is tragic and that needs to change.

Air This episode was about bread. Watching the baker make sourdough bread really inspired both Michael and I to want to try and make our own.

He discussed how commercial bread was changed from bread the way it used to be made. Commercial bread has something like 37 ingredients in it when homemade bread is really only a few ingredients! The episode talked about the gluten-free fad, celiacs diseased, and the history of bread. They showed old commercials of Wonderbread. (The commercials were so creepy!)

Earth This episode was all about fermentation–beer, chocolate, kimchi, kombucha. They went to Peru and showed the cacao fruits that are hacked in two, then the cacao beans (which are engulfed in this white slime) are scooped out to ferment. Crazy!

Historically, people fermented food in the fall to keep all winter long. In this episode they talked to a nun who is also a microbiologist who makes her own cheese in the nunnery! She was super fascinating and I wanted to know more about her, honestly.

The documentary series was really good and we both enjoyed it. I will say that each episode left me feeling like there needed to be a little bit more. Like in Fire they only briefly discussed the effect of “modern” (American) food on Aboriginal people and it felt very brushed over and I just wanted them to spend more time on it. If that meant each episode was 90 minutes long instead of an hour, so be it, but I think that could have helped the series.

Have you seen this series? What were your thoughts?

Jun 232015
 

maui1

 “To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Recently I read an article that I posted to my Facebook group, and I wanted to write a little bit about it here, too. Here is that link: 5 Words to Heal Your Relationship with Your Body.

“I am enough.”

There’s a difference between striving to improve yourself, and beating yourself up for not being perfect. I fall into this trap sometimes. Sure I want to better myself, I want to lose weight, I want to be fitter and stronger and so on and so on…but at what point is it enough to just BE?

In the past 6 months I’ve been trying to lose some weight that I gained, was a little successful and had some setbacks, and numerous times I’ve had people ask me “what if this is just where your body is naturally?” I’ve pondered this and while I am not discounting that, I do think I can lose a little bit more. The hard part is trying to decide when to stop criticizing myself and when to accept that this is it.

Compassion.

I am definitely NOT compassionate to myself. Others, yes, myself, rarely. Over the years I’ve learned to back off with the gym if my body isn’t feel right. 7 years ago? I would have powered through whatever I was feeling and ignored the cues my body was giving me and beat myself up if I had to take a break. Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s having enough injuries over the years that I’ve gotten better at taking an unplanned day (or week) off if my body needs it. It’s hard having compassion for yourself.

The other component of being compassionate is to silence that negative voice in your head (we all have it). Some days that voice in my head is a lot louder than other days. Recently that negative voice was very loud when I was trying on my summer clothes from last year. Having to buy a bunch of new clothes was discouraging and I beat myself up about it for days. Was that helpful? No. But turning that voice off can be such a struggle sometimes.

Positive reinforcement word Compassion engrained in a rock

Positive reinforcement word Compassion engrained in a rock

Gratitude.

This was a hard lesson to learn but I’ve learned it. I think what really taught me this lesson was injury. I used to take my fitness level for granted. I’d forgotten how hard I’d worked to get there. It’s not like I went from 250+ to athlete overnight — IT TOOK TIME and EFFORT. And yet I still forgot how hard I worked to get there.

When I suffered from Runner’s Knee it changed my life and my outlook on things. It was very discouraging and depressing and it was the longest injury I’ve ever had. Two years. Two years of specialists, physical therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, yoga, X-rays and MRIs. Nothing sucks more than not knowing from day to day, or even hour to hour, if your body was going to work right. What helped heal me was going to the Warrior Room. It got me back to running and I was never more grateful or happy in my life. I worked hard to get back to being able to run without pain and I do NOT take running for granted anymore. Even if I can only run 1 mile, it’s something and it’s better than nothing and I am glad for it.

 Gratitude

 

At some point, life needs to be about more than the number on the scale. It should be about living life, spending time with loved ones and enjoying things every day.

A friend was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer and the first thing I thought about with the news was that nothing else really matters in the big picture: just relationships and loving life. Not measuring your food religiously every day, or going to the gym to slog through a workout you aren’t feeling, or stressing about stupid shit…

Going on a road trip with a friend and sharing the memories; sharing an amazing dessert with your spouse on your anniversary; cuddling with your fur-babies on a lazy Sunday morning; sitting on the deck on a hot summer night listening to the frogs chirp and just relaxing. These are the things that matter, not being a size 6 in jeans. It’s a shame it often takes something serious or tragic to remind ourselves of what really matters.

This is work I need to do on myself. Love myself more. Be more kind to myself. Be more understanding. Accept where I currently am. It’s okay to want more and to want to be better, but not okay to belittle myself because I’m not there yet.

Hope everyone read the article and found something in it that spoke to them, too.