Current Progress

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Media on the Food Revolution

I'm rather impressed with the mission the media has been undertaking recently - which is to expose how we are stuffing ourselves silly with "Food" and how we should be aware and concerned about what the food in our grocery stores are actually made from and how were they made.

I watched Food Inc on the weekend and it made me wonder how we're going to solve these problems. How do we bring back the family farms and allow new seeds to be planted that a company doesn't have patents for? How do we get people to eat basic foods and not processed, fake, fast food?

Then today I watched Jamie Oliver's TED talk. It was sad to see kids thinking that a potatoe was a tomatoe. I'm so inspired by him and his revolution to educate American kids about food. It sucks to know so many people that are being diagnosed with Diabetes today and more and more kids.

The first step is awareness. I'm so glad the word is spreading about this massive problem of what we eat now and where it comes from.

I personally am the product of this trap but mostly my own fault and not having the understanding I have now. As immigrants to Canada, we were a poor family. You're taught never to waste food, to eat everything, and that free was good. I had no complaints about the food at home, my mom, uncles, grandparents would take turns cooking and it was all good. When they started working and could afford a bit more than the basics, they would get bags of chips or ice cream for us. Then, on good behavior or good marks - I'd be rewarded a Coke or McDonald's Happy Meal. We never ate out ever. And I would be jealous...jealous of friends and their stories of eating out. Jealous of watching friends eat McDonalds or Harvey's when I had no money. Jealous of not having money to go to the corner store and buy all the sweets.

Even in the school cafeteria, other students got lunch money every day to line up for fries and gravy or pizza or hot dogs. I couldn't. Then in highschool, I started working. Along with work came free pizza days, money to afford KFC Toonie Tuesdays, splurging for fries in the cafeteria and eating McDonalds at Fairview Mall. I opted for fat, sugar, salty fast food because it tasted good and we never had it at home.

Then I moved on to University - with the freedom to eat whatever was served in the cafeterias there. Then...Co-op terms afforded me the liberty to eat out...everyday. I was eating things I'd never eaten before, loved trying new foods, loved traveling and eating. I knew nothing about cooking, health, exercise except whatever my friends were doing. I loved microwavable frozen foods and instant noodles. I loved how cheap and quick it was. Then as more money came in and free business lunches and dinners...I ate more calories at classier places and loved it too.

Well I loved it until my body practically shut down and told me to stop or die. I was on a path to disaster and given one last chance. That's when I started reading about food, where it came from, what's in it, how to make it, how to eat it. When I enrolled with Yap in the Community Supported Agriculture and started getting vegetables, I had no idea what many of them were. I'd never seen Beets or Kale before. The closest thing to me handling a Squash was carving Pumpkin.

I realized that it was fun to see how vegetables and fruits are grown, and it was fun to talk to farmers and the people at the farmers markets for advice on how to cook and what to cook. I realized how fun it was to go to Farmers Markets and how food just tastes a lot better when you buy fresh ingredients and cook it the same day.

I also realized that when you start cooking - basic things, different ethnic cuisines (Vietnamese, French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Indian) you have a new appreciation for the ingredients, processes, seasonings. So when you do eat out or other people cook, you appreciate it so much more. You finally have an appreciation of WHY French Laundry costs so much. You finally realize that you want to pay and eat for QUALITY not QUANTITY and that McDonalds is NOT the bait and reward at the end of the day and actually is not food.

My disaster was years in the making and my lack of awareness of what was the right thing to eat or do was scary. I'm very impressed that when I finally tuned in on what the right way to eat is, that there are movies, books and famous chefs educating me.

I'd like to help. If I could help divert someone from following the same path to disaster as me, that would make me happy.

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