you are what you eat

I’ve recently stumbled into a world of information that has grabbed some of my attention, mostly related to US agricultural policies and what big food production has done to worm it’s way into our lives in ways you could never imagine. What started it was Food Inc and Forks over Knives. Then afterwards, I discovered a blog called, Small Bites, where their most recent post was recapping 2011 US agricultural happenings. Basically, I’m convinced I’ll never live in the US again… the situation seems hopeless and I think it’s unavoidable that it will be like that here too. Cargill is already in the Netherlands and they’re the #1 evil Big Company when it comes to corn by-products, next to Monsanto, an enormous company that creates pesticides and genetically modified seeds. They’re basically destroying responsible farming, small town agricultural communities, and they have effectively eliminated world-wide the ability for any other country to compete with heavily subsidized US corn production.  They employ tactics of extreme pressure on non-compliant farmers via petty lawsuits just to put the farmer out of business while he fights for his integrity. Farmer’s are buying their seeds because they’re afraid to be bullied and to lose their livelihoods.  I’m at the point now where I’m disgusted, and I’d like to do whatever I can to avoid buying products that contain corn by-products (corn-syrups) and products affiliated with Cargill. That would really mean reading food labels in crowded Dutch supermarkets, learning Dutch food terms to avoid, making more food from scratch (like ketchup), and doing  A LOT of research at home.

I’ve been negotiating with myself whether I even have the discipline required to thoughtfully prepare a menu in advance, to shop carefully, and to spend my Sunday prepping food for the week. What I’d like to achieve in my diet, is eating as much fresh or raw food as possible. I’d like to prepare foods, homemade, can my own sauces, make my own veggie burgers, falafel, hummus, etc… and start using the juicer again… I’ve found some excellent smoothies that you can make combining boerenkool (kale) and bananas to acquire all of your daily requirements of calcium in one go along with a solid amount of protein. Beyond that, I’m not sure how much more I can commit to, when it comes to only buying organic… it’s so expensive and with the market here in Leiden, I’d struggle to know which vegetables are or aren’t.

I’m also evaluating the amount of dairy that I eat and I’m considering following a mostly vegan diet (after watching Forks over Knives). I don’t see myself totally giving up dairy, but I’d like to make it more of an occasional thing, like ice cream, than something I eat daily.

Anyway, these are some things I’ve been thinking about. I really don’t know if I have the dedication to follow such a life style, as I go through so many lulls in my enthusiasm for cooking, or even moving off my bed in general, but I’d like to slowly work towards that. The biggest part of it is educating yourself, which I have been doing. Yesterday a friend told me he’d rather not know because ignorance is bliss, but I just can’t subscribe to that philosophy… and in fact, I find it unacceptable.

With balancing 2 jobs now and starting Dutch classes again tomorrow, plus fitting in spin classes and my gym schedule it’s going to be a mammoth task to eat responsibly but I’d like to give it more attention than I have been. Anyway, here are some sources I’m using to gather recipes and inspiration: Whole Living 28 day action plan (detox), Post Punk Kitchen, Maduram’s Eggless Cooking and for overall information on agricultural policies, general food questions, and also good recipes, Small Bites has been fantastic.

Now if only I could also find a way to use all natural products in the home, which I know is possible, because I’ve spent loads of time collecting links on the web, I’d be extremely pleased with myself.

Baby steps, right?

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