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Posted on February 20th, 2010

Those who know me know that I love food. Almost to a fault, even. I mean, I go to the gym regularly but, often, progress made there is stifled by an indulgence in rich, tasty cuisine. (Aside: why is it that so many of the tastiest foods are so unhealthy?!) It’s not fair.

That said, there are many ways that I could get around this problem. Recently, I challenged myself to stop taking out food for lunch when I’m at work. (This has, consequently, reduced the frequency of me taking out food to just around nil.) Doing this was/is difficult for a few reasons: lunch is a social thing at work, take-out food is very tasty, and I would have to motivate myself to prepare lunch after a day at work and time at the gym.

The folks at work have been quite supportive of this. As they make their rounds, gathering people for the trek to a local restaurant/deli, I get asked if I brought lunch to which I coyly reply that I had. And that’s that — no problems. To combat the tastiness of take-out food, I’ve had to avoid “bland” lunches; otherwise, I think that I would succumb to restaurant food. Over the past couple of weeks (which is the extent to which this challenge has lasted so far), I’ve made frittatas, various pasta dishes, and other meals that I’ve loaded with flavour. It’s tough, but it’s working so far. As for the time issue, I have often found myself making the next day’s lunches after 11:00 pm. And that really sucks. (Those who know me also know that I love sleep!)

By preparing my own lunches, I get to choose what goes into my meals; I control the salt, fat, carbs, calories, sugars, and everything. If I am really serious about being healthy (and I’d like to think that I am working my way towards it), I will leverage this control. But, one step at a time first. The other benefit is that I get to make use of my lovely kitchen and practice cooking. Previous apartments have had sub-optimal kitchens but, now that I have a reasonably good one, I can resume recipe experimenting and tweaking.

The other thing that I can do is to focus on the quality of the ingredients. One of the simplest, most responsible, and most helpful ways of doing this is to buy organic food. Bonus points if it’s locally sourced too. While the price is a bit higher, I’m trying to convince myself that it will be worth it in the long run. In addition to doing something good for the planet, I’d like to think that I’m doing something good for my body too. Now, I am not going to say that I am going to always buy organic food from now on; that is presently a bit overzealous and too lofty of a goal. But I’m starting to ease my way into it and that’s step number one.

This morning, I hit up the local Whole Foods (which, sadly, is a solid 30 minutes away) to procure good meat, fruits, and vegetables. Outside, the Union Square Farmer’s Market was in full swing so I took a peek at what was available there. (Given that it is winter, I expected little besides potatoes, squashes, and apples.) I did pick up a few things (apples, eggs, and honey), but what I really took away was how ghastly expensive locally sourced meat is.

It was just about double what I’d pay at Whole Foods which, in turn, has a pretty big markup over a traditional grocery store. My heart sank. (Those who know me know that, as far as food goes, I love meat.) And to think that those prices were what the farmers were charging in order to remain competitive. It made me think how the corporate farms manage to make their products so cheap. Sure, economies of scale will help a little bit, but there are some serious cost-cutting practices in place. (I’m almost scared to watch movies like Food Inc.; even articles like this make me nervous.)

I’m reminded by the adage “You are what you eat.” Increasingly, I am surrounded by cheap, processed, mass-produced people. One day, and hopefully sooner rather than later, I sure would like to be wholesome, healthy, ethical, and responsible.

One Response to “Food”

  1. Kat Says:

    glad to hear you’re making better choices Jchan!

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