Tuesday, January 03, 2012

So much advice...

I've been threatening to become a food blogger (and probably a bad one, if past performance can be any indicator of future achievement) for years, and I think that may have finally happened, only in a different way than I had anticipated.

I've been reading the unfortunately named Good Calories, Bad Calories, a book about which my mother was talking while I was home for Christmas. The title makes it sound to me like a diet book of the most banal sort, but that turns out to be misleading. So far, and I'm just starting out (my kindle tells me I'm 10% into the book), it is as much a book about the recent history of nutritional public policy as it is about food I should eat. Science writer Gary Taubes applied journalistic research and scientific skepticism to the piles of assumed information about human nutrition and disease prevention, hoping to find the science on which current thinking is founded, or to disprove it. It's making me question a lot of the assumptions I absorbed as a young person - maybe that grain heavy food pyramid wasn't such a good plan. Maybe the research doesn't back it up at all. Is there really a causal relationship between cholesterol and dietary fats and coronary heart disease? I found myself, on the train the other day, talking back to the book. (Fortunately using my internal voice, though it IS New York City, people probably wouldn't have noticed if I'd spoken out loud to my book.)

I realized, as the author talks about the funding for the studies and the alliance between industry and research, that I've grown skeptical of everything these days. Do you really believe what you just said, or are you saying it because your statement has been bought and paid for? What is real? What is believable? I question everything. And that's probably all to the good, skepticism keeps us honest and critical, and I can hardly consider that a bad thing!

My family and I have used SparkPeople.com on and off for several years now (apparently I joined in February of 2006), to motivate ourselves and to track our food and exercise, and my brother sent out an email yesterday, encouraging us to join him there again. Spark is a lot like WeightWatchers online, without the points gimmick, and without the price tag. Lots of forums and "teams", blogs and trackers. I do find that when I track what I'm eating, I both eat less of it and am more critical of it, so it can be a very useful tool for weight loss and general health. Unfortunately, I am LOUSY at it. I constantly forget to track, forget what I ate, forget a snack... Of course, there's an app for that. But I'm pretty bad at that too. What I DO enjoy is constantly taking pictures of my food. I mean, all the time. Made some delicious ham? Text someone to taunt them about it. Really pretty pot pie? Belongs on facebook. I do it all the time. I'm also pretty good at keeping up with social networking. It doesn't bother me in the slightest to check Facebook, Twitter and Google+ multiple times a day. (An hour?) So I've started a tumblr feed, to post all the food I eat. This is, I am aware, going to interest pretty much no one but me, so I plugged it into the sidebar here... Because sometimes it can be visually appealing, and because now, when I want to track what I ate today, it's all right there. In technicolor.

So I think this blog is going to become a lot about food. And health. And, inevitably, how frustrating weight loss is. But also about the preparation of food, the production of food, even the politics of food. Because there is a lot of information out there, and most of it disagrees. As of this writing, I prefer local to organic, whole to skim and real to processed. This could change at a moment's notice. And likely will. I welcome your thoughts and information, feel free to send me interesting links and articles, I'll probably repost them, and possibly argue with them.

And I'm not ruling out silly stories about life in the theater either. Those don't even have to do with food at all, though often they do.

1 comment:

Thomas said...

Yep. I'm on the whole milk thing too for the moment. Got some nice yogurt (organic not local though). I'll see if I can find some local next time. I like that better for economic reasons if not health ones.