TV

Cooked

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?

Back to the Beginning

DEJA VU…

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Well, the cold that I had turned into a sinus infection. 🙁 And it was a pretty bad one, too. My face was throbbing. I went to urgent care and got antibiotics and the doctor also put me on prednisone, which was not my first choice but I was so miserable I said ok.

I spent the next few days on the couch, miserable. 🙁 And the Deja Vu…last time I was sick was November when I had bronchitis and I started watching Gilmore Girls (How I Spent My Weekend). It took me like 7 months, but I finally finished the whole show. And was kind of bummed about it, too. There were a lot of things that annoyed me about the TV show (the co dependence, the binge eating junk food running joke) but overall I really liked it and was sad when I got to the final episode!

Keeping with the finale theme, I also got caught up on Justified. I had no idea that it was the last season and had about half a dozen episodes saved on the DVR. By the last episode came and I saw how things were going, I thought “How can they have another season after this?” And then I realized it was the finale too!

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It was such a good show and the final season was fantastic. On the edge of your seat good and I already miss the characters. Boo!

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Bella loved having me home with her, even though I wasn’t any fun! She kept bringing her ball over to me on the couch wanting to play. Poor baby.

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I’m frustrated with the setbacks I’ve had lately. The foot injury, the back injury, now sickness. It seems like I am destined to go back to the beginning with everything. I haven’t been running in nearly a month, same with lifting weights. During the back injury I was doing the elliptical, walking and swimming only. So I was still working out, but not doing quite what I was used to.

So once I’m over this latest setback, I really will be starting over. Starting over sucks. I was getting pretty good and consistent with my running and was excited about the two 5k’s I signed up for (later this summer/fall). I’m hoping that I don’t have to start at the VERY beginning of running but I might be. Time will tell.

The good news: my back is a lot better. It’s almost all healed. I noticed that it starts to return a little after sitting at work a lot. I’m in the process of getting a standing desk at work, so hopefully that will help. I go back to PT this week and I’m hoping she clears me for all activities. The last chiro appointment I had was Monday the 20th and I don’t feel like I need to go back anytime soon. I hope!

I skipped the gym last week when I was sick and took it slow over the weekend, lots of rest and taking it easy. I did some light working out Saturday and Sunday but nothing too strenuous. I am so over this and ready to get back to normal! Saturday all I did was the elliptical (with light resistance because I could tell I wasn’t quite up for it yet) and then stood in the steam room for awhile (which was blissful).

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I’ve had zero appetite since being sick, but have been eating 3 meals a day (mostly because I had to eat food with the medications I was taking). Basically eggs and toast for breakfast, soup and greek yogurt for the other meals. I’ve been counting my calories, even though I probably didn’t need to during the sickness, but have been staying within my limits for the day. I had planned on weighing myself this week but after taking prednisone? No thank you! I will wait til next month. No need to make myself crazy seeing a number based on the steroids I was taking. My clothes do feel a little looser lately, so I’ll take that as a sign that I’m ok right now. Right now I’m just focusing on feeling better. Then I’ll get back to losing weight.

Saturday evening I met up with my friend Erika at Oaks Bottom Pub. We’d made the plans before I got sick and I was feeling well enough to go out, so didn’t cancel. It was so nice to get out of the house and be social and “normal” (almost). We sat in the back, under the covered patio with Christmas lights and heat lamps, and had dinner and talked for hours. It was so nice! My appetite was starting to come back and I was craving tots, so I got the turkey and brie sandwich with sauteed pears and a side of tots.

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Sunday I slept in super late and just felt really lazy. I originally thought I’d go to the pool but once Sunday arrived the idea of swimming with my sinuses full sounded like a terrible idea. In the end I did the elliptical again. It was easy and low-impact and didn’t require me to have full function of my sinuses and breathing. Being stuffed up when swimming sucks.

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Again I hung out in the steam room afterward, which felt wonderful. Then I spent the rest of the day relaxing and taking it easy. The gym on Sunday was a lot easier than it had been on Saturday but it still took a lot out of me. My hope is that this week is a lot better and by the end of the week I’m back to swimming and running!