Sunday, November 2, 2008

So confusing...

Sometimes we just don't know how to choose!

I've been spending alot of time researching the best and "greenest" ways of living. I'm creating a business based on helping other people to sort through the avalanche of new, often conflicting, and confusing information on living. Questions like "Should we spend the extra money to get a product we need that was produced somewhere other than China. Should we spend even more to get it made in USA, and even more to get it made locally-ish?" "What is my energy use." (I live in a community where our energy bills are 3rd party and very confusing. I'm actually going to have to "talk to someone" to understand my bill.) "What items are essential, what are important, what are good to have, and what are frivolities?" And most important to me, "What is a healthy diet?"

This kills me. That the more I read on food, eating, politics, and culture, the more confused I become about what is the "best" diet. Sure it depends on what's local, fresh, seasonal. What's least processed and most lovingly raised.

But what about meat? Okay, pasture raised, healthy lifestyle, happy meat? Do we need meat in our culture of abundance? Is this just an addiction like sugar? I know there are good things in meat, minerals and vitamins that are more readily soluble, proteins and fats that are good energy. But is it the best way to get these things. We don't need much if so, about 4 oz is enough, which is roughly one deli sandwich worth of meat, a day. Alot less than I grew up eating or eat now, even trying to be aware of cutting back. I tend to base my meal planning on the meat or entree first, then the vegetables and starch as sides. But according to most nutritionists we should eat mostly vegetables and grains with meat as a flavoring.

But what about starches? Carbohydrates are the producers of insulin, insulin traps fat, fat causes cancers and heart disease, plus contributes to diabetes. How does that apply to whole grains? Should we be eating a diet of mostly vegetables with a few whole grains, a bit of meat, no dairy, no processed grains, no added sugars and fats, what about eggs?

Nuts are okay, but now they maybe pasteurised (heated quickly to kill bacteria, which also kills important nutrients and changes the molecular structure. And now the USDA is pushing this and not mandating that the consumer be told if they are or not).

Beans are good, I think, so far I haven't found anything negative about beans.

Fruit is okay, if we consider carbon footprint and eat whole fruit, not juices. Though with fruit you need to consider sugars again.

But what about Slow Food? Enjoy and savor, eat with tradition and conscience, be mindful of being nourished. Where does my beloved cheese fit into all this. I'm a chef by nature, I need to play with food, be creative, make things taste good, and nurture. But that means leaving behind all the things known as comfort foods. We've been eating meat since we became. We grew larger brains because of it. We've been drinking milk since we domesticated the beast. We've evolved the ability as adults to digest it. We've been eating grains all along the way. Wheat is the "staff of life" and bread and/or rice are the best known staples in almost every culture. "All things in moderation", but what about some of the processed food-like stuff out there? Or things like bread and cheese, that are totally addictive and take about a month or so to break free of the craving for? And what about cravings? Is that instinct telling you that your body needs something or the addict calling for more drug? Argggghhhh!

I want clear answers! This is food we are talking about. Something every single one of us does everyday, and have done so since time began. Why is it confusing? Why is it so non-intuitive? Why am I up at 1:48am (second time this night I've seen 1:48am, daylight savings time) trying to figure out the simplest and most important question of humankind? What to eat?

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