Tag Archives: whole foods

[Pseudo] Promise!

Yeah, yeah: I know: I haven’t been updating regularly. Why? For a number of reasons, the primary one being Intense Personal Sloth. But also (and not to be overlooked!) because I started a new job recently. Yay for new responsibilities, a different desk, and a growing familiarity with office jargon! Indeed, I’m enjoying my new position, but the past few weeks have been a time o’ transition, and complex cooking projects have…been put to the back burner. (Pun intended. I was alternately considering “have fallen off the plate.”) Yep: I’ve been eating more from the Whole Foods hot/cold bar than I care to admit.

Speaking of which: ZOMG, the new Whole Foods (Haight & Stanyan) is a thing to behold. Hook and I actually went on a date there the other night. Hand in hand, we wandered the aisles, mesmerized by the oh-so-complete selection of International Yogurts and the shelves of gluten-free cosmetics. Oy! Such a yuppie paradise this new store is that it will receive its own post. First, I have to get a handle on my True Deep Feelings for this heavenly grocer new shopping establishment.

But the pseudo-promise! The pseudo-promise (“PP”) is twofold: first, I’d like to get back to my goal of updating at least once weekly. Second, I’d like to spend more time photographing my cooking experiments/fabu meals/the Whole Foods parking lot. I’ve gotten reeeeeeeal lazy with my photoing, and no one likes a blog with shitty pictures. Things would be a lot easier if I had an awesome new DSLR, but, you know, that isn’t going to be a reality anytime soon. In the meantime, I will [try to] avoid defaulting to my iPhone’s camera.

That rabbit? C’est moi. And no, that garbage can is not an empty McDonald’s fry container.

Shout out to Sys!

I’m a magazine fan. Throughout high school, I subscribed to Vogue and was able, with confidence, to Talk About Fashion (an ability that has since withered). In college, needing a pick me up, I’d secure a ride to Wal-Mart and pick up a pack of Parliaments and a few magazines: Cosmo, Shape, Health — whatever. If I were lucky enough to be going to a bookstore, I’d get Bust, Adbusters, or Artforum. My taste in mags wasn’t really as schizophrenic as I make it out to be, but in small-town Illinois, shopping locale dictates periodical selection even more than it does anywhere else, so I’d exit whatever store I was in with an armload of at-odds publications (and probably a big bag of Sour Patch Kids).

I currently receive a few magazines, but my subscription level was raised by one when my sis gifted me a year of Bon Appetit. Thanks, sys!

I’ve never actually read Bon Appetit (embarrassing confession), but I read the current issue yesterday morning on the bus rides to and from work. My verdict? I think I’ll need to read a few more issues before feeling comfortable making any sweeping statements about the magazine as a whole. A few of the recipes caught my eye — the honey lavender ice cream, for example, which I may yet try to make this weekend, and the salads* — and the photos are gorgeous. Overall, I wished for more narrative, more lushly constructed food fables. But, food lit is not Bon Appetit’s editorial focus, as Hook kindly pointed out — recipes are. In that regard, the magazine is successful: it’s crammed with recipes (some with no words of introduction!), more recipes than I will try before the next issue arrives.

GOOD NEWS: The Whole Foods that’s being built at the intersection of Haight and Stanyan is going to open on February 16th. That’s 18 days away! In 18 days, I’ll have only to walk a scant three blocks to get my produce (local, organic), my wine, my expertly arranged and carefully tied bouquets and my vegan scones. I’ve been watching the store’s construction over the course of a year, and opening day is so close I can smell it. Maybe that’s bum urine on the adjacent sidewalk, but whatever: my bobo fantasy shall soon be realized. (!).

***

*Though many of the featured salads are similar to ones I make already for lunch. Reading the feature, I was like, “Really? This gets to be published? Why are my salad creations not featured recipes, huh?”

In case you needed more encouragement to eat whole foods…

I just read this HuffPo article by David Katz emphasizing the fact that foods are far greater than the sum of their caloric totals. It’s a concept that’s solid — I mean, really solid: irrefutably true — but one that many Americans have trouble accepting as the basis for their dietary choices. Just yesterday, I was talking to a friend whose mother follows a modified version of the Atkins diet.

“Sure, she’s a little overweight,” the friend said, “but she’s also 60 years old. When she was in town visiting me, we were at an Italian restaurant and she ordered the Chicken Parm without pasta. At that point, I went off on her.” I would have had the same reaction.

My diet is pretty balanced, just like the assortment of foods depicted in this ca-1987 photograph.

My diet is generally healthy. Day to day, I eat as many whole foods as possible. Weekday breakfasts are either fiberlicious cereal topped with berries or instant oatmeal; lunch is usually a salad with a protein, some bread, and some cheese. Dinner is a total wild card; weekends are also a wild card. In the grand scheme of things, I probably eat less sodium and fewer chemicals than the average American consumer. My vegetable intake is greater than the recommended minimum level. And while I could reduce the amount of gummy candies I eat and Stellas I drink, I don’t have a strong or pressing desire to do so.

For a while,  I too bought into the predominantly American habit of eating “diet” foods. During my last year of grad school, working three jobs and stressed to the max about the State of My Thesis, I leaned a little too heavily on Lean Cuisines, Fiber One bars, and Light and Fit yogurts. Did these foods fall within my daily caloric allotment? Well, sure. Did I get sick from eating them? Not that I know of. But they weren’t satisfying. I never craved an 80-calorie, aspartame-sweetened yogurtlike substance: I endured it. As I came to realize, in a classic “d’oh” moment, one’s crazy-crazy grad school existence is no excuse for eating foodlike products.

Heidi Klum and Light & Fit: a match made in heaven? (Note: Klum's shirt so complements the yogurt's packaging, but this visual cohesiveness does not = "a match made in heaven.")

Since then, I’ve made major steps to eliminate fake food  from my diet. One persistent offender is energy bars (they don’t spoil, so they’re good to keep at the office), but they’re really the last frontier of pseudofoods that I need to conquer. (Note: Candy and some artificial sweeteners are the other last frontiers.) It just makes sense that real food is more satisfying, nutritionally and tastewise, than highly engineered food products. Put another way, would you rather eat three 100-calorie packs of cookiethings, or one serving of very real, full-fat ice cream?

Many of us will never wholly cleanse our diets of fake and semi-fake foods, and that’s OK. Given the choice between a Lean Cuisine and a Big Mac Value Meal, or between a Lean Cuisine and no lunch, I’d choose the former. I still have a sweet spot for Cheetos, Peanut M&Ms, and Nestle’s powdered hot cocoa mix, though Vitamin Water and light dairy products have vanished from my fridge. Anything is OK in moderation — even Corn Flakes, high sugar content and all! — but a diet centered on low(ish) calorie pseudofoods is akin to living in an airport: it would be tolerable for a while, even (at times) mimicking real life, but it would be a miserable and unsustainable long-term existence.

So go ahead: check out Katz’ article, and bask in the warmth of having your belief in whole foods substantiated.

I love Cheetos! Not as much as this lady does, but almost.