Monday, July 30, 2012

An Aha! Moment

Yesterday, I went to buy some clothes as many of mine no longer fit; what I have in my closet is extremely baggy. I was pleasantly surprised that I fit into smalls and even a size 6 pair of pants! I cannot remember the last time I wore a size 6 (though sizes may very well change-I still have size 10s that I bought recently that I fit into, so whatever). Still, this is much smaller than the 14s I was wearing earlier this year.

So after nearly 27 lbs of weight loss, I would say I'm looking pretty darn good. But here's the aha! moment. Last night, as I was digging into my dinner, I realized, I'm eating chicken cooked in *lard* and I am losing weight and overall, just feeling amazing. LARD!!! I've been a proponent of eating more fat for a few years now, but the proof, I guess, has been in the proverbial pudding. Or lard, beef tallow, schmaltz, or coconut oil. Needless to say, I'm thrilled.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Whole Chick-Fil-A Brouhaha

Let me just preface this by saying, yes, I have eaten there in the past. I was sort of curious what it would taste like, and quite frankly, I was not a fan. The food was edible, but I just didn't get the fanaticism that some people have about it. Then I noticed that on their mayo packets that the ingredients included High Fructose Corn Syrup. Disgusting. Why does *mayo* need to be sweet along with everything else? It doesn't. Just because of that (and because I wasn't thrilled anyway), I decided to never eat there again.

Here is the ingredient list of their basic chicken sandwich from their website. You tell me if this counts as Real Food or not:
Chick-fil-A® Chicken Sandwich
Chicken (100% natural whole breast filet, seasoning [salt, monosodium glutamate, sugar, spices, paprika], seasoned coater [enriched bleached flour {bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid}, sugar, salt, monosodium glutamate, nonfat milk, leavening {baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate}, spice, soybean oil, color {paprika}], milk wash [water, whole powdered egg and nonfat milk solids], peanut oil [fully refined peanut oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness and dimethylpolysiloxane an anti-foaming agent added]), bun (enriched flour [wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate {Vitamin B1}, riboflavin {Vitamin B2}, folic acid], water, high fructose corn syrup, yeast, contains 2% or less of each of the following: liquid yeast, soybean oil, nonfat milk, salt, wheat gluten, soy flour, dough conditioners [may contain one or more of the following: mono- and diglycerides, calcium and sodium stearoyl lactylates, calcium peroxide], soy flour, amylase, yeast nutrients [monocalcium phosphate, calcium sulfate, ammonium sulfate], calcium propionate added to retard spoilage, soy lecithin, cornstarch, butter oil [soybean oil, palm kernel oil, soy lecithin, natural and artificial flavor, TBHQ and citric acid added as preservatives, and artificial color]), pickle (cucumbers, water, vinegar, salt, lactic acid, calcium chloride, alum, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate [preservatives], natural flavors, polysorbate 80, yellow 5, blue 1).

Does that look unappetizing or what? GAH!

Beyond this, the company has been donating miliions of dollars to organizations with the specific goal of preserving "Biblical Marriage." When I hear phrases like this, I admit to becoming snarky. Keeping wives and concubine as property is what they're going for? Now that's Biblical marriage!  What they really mean, of course, is keeping gay people from being gay or getting married to same-sex partners. The Marriage & Family Foundation, Exodus International, and the Family Research Council all devote time and money to steering political agendas against gay people and gay marriage (or as I'd rather refer to it, marriage).

So fine. If that's your thing, go ahead, keep eating their chemical-ridden "food" and some of your money will go toward these organizations (and not nearly enough to the workers, who are probably making a pittance and stuck in the middle of all of this, but I digress). I'd rather make my own chicken sandwiches, with red pepper halves as my bun and almond "breading" I made myself. At least I know that my sandwich is chemical and hate free.

This blog and many other great ones can be found at Food Renegade's Fight Back Friday!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Mindful Omnivorism and Pagan Spirituality

In case you haven't noticed, I'm an omnivore. And here's a secret....we all are! That means something different to everyone, but basically, humans can freely consume animals and vegetables, whatever we choose! Wow! Now, many people shun animal -based food out of respect for the lives of animals. Others do it for health. I can completely understand both of these ideas, even though I personally disagree. Today, I'm going to talk about my personal standpoint on the matter. Feel free to chime in if you want to!

Point 1: all living things eventually die.
Death is not an option for anyone. It happens to all of us in the Great Cycle of Life. We are born, we grow up, and then we die. And it starts all over again. I personally believe in reincarnation also, so this cycle continues beyond this plane of existence. As above, so below, as it were.

Point 2: as all living beings are part of this cycle, we are all part of the Divine.
I could be better described as a Pantheist rather than a Polytheist (though I do think the Divine has many aspects as shown by the Gods). So, broccoli is as part of the divine as much as a cow is. Because of this, I don't believe there's any difference eating broccoli over a cow. And if something were to eat me, well, then, fine (not my personal preference, obviously). But I don't really put humans above animals above plants. We're all in this together, and we all have to eat something to survive. We all consume the other, as we're built to do.

Point 3: eat mindfully because we can.
I don't know if plants and animals eat mindfully, as I cannot ask them. But I know I can personally eat mindfully. So I do not choose my foods whether they be plant or animal; rather, I choose my foods based on how they were raised or grown. I think food tastes better and is better for you when love and care was given while the animal or plant was living, and preferably also in its death. I want my food supply to be local, organic, and/or pastured. I want it processed as little as possible so that it doesn't lose its benefits. And I thank my food before I consume it (most of the time, anyway. I'm far from perfect.)

Eating omnivorously has always been what my body craved. I've flirted with vegetarianism before as it's touted as superior ethically and healthfully. But my body disagreed. I am moving toward my body's highest potential eating omnivorously (even with all of my restrictions). I am losing weight, gaining muscle, and resolving hormonal and digestive issues. My skin glows. I am finding my inner Goddess. She was always there, but She's coming out now! Isn't that truly Divine?

Find this post and other great blogs at Fight Back Friday hosted by Food Renegade!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Religion, Politics, and Food

Ahh, these three topics are the ones I enjoy the most. But, naturally, they are probably the most controversial ones out there. So anyway, here are my personal stances on these topics and how they relate to each other. If you don't like them, well, that's fine. Just give me your reasons. I'm willing to read them, even if I don't agree with you. If you agree with me, wonderful.

I am a Neo-Pagan, but I come from a Christian background. I was raised Episcopalian (with a small jaunt as a Lutheran), attended a Pentacostal school for three years as well as a Catholic one for three years.  I am well-versed in many Christian theologies. However, one aspect of Christianity I never agreed with was Creationism, especially of the Young Earth variety. I can buy that God set off the chain reaction that made our universe the way it is, and I can even buy the belief that there was more to it than that (though that is not my belief), but I cannot and will not buy that dinosaurs and man roamed the earth together and that the earth is only 5000 years old.  So why am I bringing this up? Because it pervades the Real Food movement, that God is somehow compelling us how to eat, that the Paleo diet subscribes to the theory of evolution and is therefore wrong. I could go on and on. In all my years as a Christian with religious education, I never was taught this pseudo-science, and now it's everywhere I look for information on Real Food. To me, as soon as I see a mention of Creationism, the author loses all credibility for me. Mythology exists to teach us spiritual truths, not to be a science primer. Genesis is a myth. Adam and Eve did not exist as such. Nor did Hercules, Thor, Genesha, etc, lest you think I'm just picking on Christians. Anyway, I'm not out to change anyone's beliefs, but I have to say that science CAN be trusted, and people don't have to take the Bible literally to be a good Christian. Science can and will support Real Food. That's why I eat it! It's the ethics of it that relate to my personal spiritual practice, but more on that later.

Moving on...I've said this before, but I am a dyed-in-the-wool Liberal. I'm a Bernie Sanders, socialist kind of liberal. That said, I like regulations, just not stupid ones. I don't want small government or big government; I want SMART government that isn't pushed around by corporate money. I want the freedom to buy raw milk, but I do want it tested regularly to make sure my farmers aren't cutting corners. I want GMOs and artificial flavors and colors banned by the FDA. I want real and thorough gold-standard testing on medicines and vaccines before they are approved for the market, instead of all the fast-tracking and lack of long-term study. Taking corporate money and lobbies out of government will force these changes. Many of my fellow Real Foodies take the opposite approach. They want hands-off government, and quite honestly, I'm a bit sympathetic to that, but only because our current system is the way it is. I don't want to make government smaller, I want it BETTER, but until then, I feel like a bit of a renegade. Lucky for me that I live in Massachusetts, where we haven't had FDA raids on raw milk farms (what a waste of taxpayer money!) In my opinion, the FDA would do better by spending its time and money on actually doing proper testing on foods and medicines without kowtowing to Big Pharma and Big Ag.

In another post, I will address my omnivorism as it relates to my spiritual practice. Stay tuned!