The CHERISHED Life of Heather Leigh

Friday, July 29, 2011

Food, Inc. Friday

If you've never watched the documentary Food, Inc.....DON'T! Unless you're prepared to change the way you think about and consume food.

Before I watched this film (a little over a week ago), I didn't think about, nor did I care about where my food came from. As a matter of fact, I was one of those people who would say, "Don't tell me, I DON'T want to know!" Ignorance is bliss, no? So, when my daughter and I were looking through Netflix for a film to watch together, I stumbled across the documentaries genre. There were several other documentaries that I wanted to see, ones that I had heard about on NPR and had filed away in my someday category, right there at my fingertips. I passed up on those films, figuring that Jordyn would have no interest in them. But being a body conscious teenager, Food, Inc., while not one that really appealed to ME, seemed like one that she would enjoy. Little did I know, that it would complete change the way I look at my food.

And there's no going back.

So, here I am, about to embark upon this journey. This journey of caring about and knowing where my food comes from, how it's prepared, understanding what's in it, and how the production of this food impacts the planet...and not just the earth, but the people on it.

In sharing this new found awareness with others, one of my girlfriends suggested that I keep a food journal, to track how easy or hard it is to follow some of my new, self imposed guidelines for eating. Voila, the idea for a "Food, Inc. Friday" blog post was born.

These posts are not intended to preach, but rather to record what I'm learning and what I'm doing as it relates to food. And also to share the resources that I've found to be helpful in my journey.

One thing I'm trying to do more of is to support local farmers. In that effort, I visited the Oxford Farmer's Market yesterday. I had some hits and some visits during my trip.

Let me deconstruct this photo for you, top to bottom:

TOP - Michigan Sweet Corn - I bought some of this earlier in the week from Harvest time, and it was so sweet and juicy that I didn't need to season it at all! It was perfect, just the way nature (plus some boiling water) made it. Hoping this stuff is just as good. HIT

MIDDLE Left - Zucchini and String Beans - Ready for the second of two stir fry's. I made the first stir fry for dinner last night (which also included one small yellow squash which we ate before taking this photo). Delish. HIT

MIDDLE Center & Right - Spinach pasta and whole wheat pasta from Pasta e' Pasta in Chesterfield Township. Ingredients in the Spinach package: Wheat flour, eggs, spinach, water, olive oil, salt. Recognize the names of all of those ingredients? Can you pronounce them all? Yeah, me too. HIT

BOTTOM Left - The Ultimate Pretzel Company's Tots pretzel balls with blended chocolates - At $2 for 4 oz, the price was better than what I found online, but why did I buy this? They didn't taste all that great, and when I looked at the ingredients (AFTER I got home...note to self, even at a farmers market, read the ingredients BEFORE you buy!) there were a boatload of unrecognizable things listed...things that had only initials or ended in '-erol' or '-ide'. And don't even get me started on the fact that it contained soybean oil. A total MISS!

BOTTOM Center/Left - 13 Bean soup - I don't know where the beans came from. Next time I will ask. But they offered free samples and it was delicious. Sold. JURY IS STILL OUT.

BOTTOM Center/Right - Uncle Peter's Pasties from Clarkston, whose is USDA approved and grown locally as well as hormone and antibiotic free. Hopefully they taste good. Assuming this will be a HIT.

BOTTOM Right - Tomatoes. Nuff said. HIT

NOT PICTURED - Apples and oranges. OK, this one had me thinking...are apples and oranges even in season in Michigan right now? I wanted to ask the farmer, but I thought I would look stupid. So, I bought three of each and Googled it when I got home. Apples are in season in Michigan July through October. Oranges? According to the list of seasonal produce in Michigan that I found online....Yeah, not even on the list. So, did these "farmers" hit Meijer before hitting the Farmer's Market? Next time I WILL ask. Better to ask and "look" like you're dumb than to make a purchase and prove it. MISS

Friday, July 22, 2011

I'm no Yogi, but I AM a Varti

Having recently joined a gym in an effort to hold myself accountable in my fitness journey, I attended a one hour yoga class this morning. I had attended this same class a couple of weeks ago, and the forty something instructor was very gentle and encouraging, using mostly seated, not too difficult poses.

However, today's class was being taught by a substitute teacher, a fit and "perky" young thing who apparently had vision problems because she failed to recognize that this was geriatrics hour at the gym. At 38, I was the youngest member of the class by easily 15 years, excluding the energetic and very flexible instructor, of course.

Now, I've been doing yoga off and on for about 15 years. Never in my experience with Yoga has it been done with U2 or Lee Ann Womack playing in the background. Not once did the sub ask us to set an intention, or to repeat a mantra, or to OHM, or to "go within for a moment". This chick meant business. As in, "I'm going to kick your ass" in a very friendly way business.

Most of my previous yoga experience has been at home with DVDs or the Wii, and while I am by NO means a Yogi, I consider myself pretty proficient at the basic, and some of the not so basic, poses. During one of the DVD's I have used at home, Tony Horton's Power Half Hour Stretch, there is a 10 minute section of "Power Yoga" which is pretty intense. Yeah, well, the sub gave us 45 minutes of "Power Yoga" today. Downward dog, plank, chaturanga, cobra, plank, forward fold, repeat, and repeat, aaaaaaaaand repeat. And repeat again. Between that neverending segment and the warrior II, triangle, warrior II, triangle, warrior II limbs were on fire. And, remember, I'm the YOUNG one here!

I kept up pretty well until the instructor showed us how to invert ourselves where our thighs were resting on our arms kind of like a mini handstand, except you keep your head up and you don't kick your legs up into the air above your let the weight of your legs (which are supposed to be OFF the ground), rest on your arms along with the entire weight of your body. Are you kidding me? Have you SEEN your audience?

During the last 15 minutes of class, we were asked to lower ourselves to our mats for some seated poses. Relief! FINALLY! As I lowered myself to the mat, I let out one of the loudest varts the world has ever heard. Nice. Thank you Jordyn, Liam, Owen, and Ashton. Thank you very much. Hopefully the old people in class left their hearing aids at home. That's what I've convinced myself of, anyway.

As we laid there in shavasana (dead man's pose) at the very end of class, I wondered how many students the instructor had managed to actually kill in the last 60 minutes. Fortunately, and surprisingly, everyone arose at the end of class. One of the students asked the sub, "Are you going to be subbing again on Monday?" When she replied with an enthusiastic, "YES!" I could hear everyone's thoughts silently screaming through the looks of dread on their faces...they are totally not showing up for Monday's class. Guaranteed. And while I don't have it on my calendar to attend on Monday, I kind of want to show up just to see how many people don't return.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Perspective on Distractions

I've mentioned before that I love the Duggars. Would I ever want to BE a Duggar? No effing WAY!! Ok, maybe a little.

The other day I was watching one of the recent 19 Kids and Counting episodes (yes, I DVR the show, but please don’t tell anyone…. I can even name all of the kids: Josh-with his wife Anna and their kids McKynzie and I think the new baby is named Michael- then there are Jana, JohnDavid, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, JoyAnna, Jedidiah, Jeremiah, James, Justin, Jackson, Johanna, Jennifer, Jordyn, and their tiny, precious addition, Josie. Oh shoot, I forgot one. I always forget one. Just like Maria forgot Curt when she said her bedtime prayers for the VonTrapp family. But, I know that their adorable cousin’s name is Amy, do I get points for knowing that? Talk about a fun party trick.)

As I was saying, I was watching the show a few weeks ago while JimBob and Michelle were writing their latest book. They sat together, focused at the kitchen table, poring over the last draft with a deadline to their publishers looming as chaos from their offspring erupted all around them. Someone off camera asked if the kids were a distraction to finishing the book.

Michelle’s response really struck a chord with me. While this isn’t her response verbatim, you’ll get the gist of it. She said that raising the kids was their job and that the book was a distraction to raising their family. Not the other way around.

Wow. What a perspective.

How many times have I said no to playing a board game because I was paging through Facebook?
How many times have I said no to reading a book because I was flipping through US magazine?
How many times have I said “tuck yourselves in” because I was glued to the snuggler watching Real Housewives of some city that I don't live in?
How many times have I said “not now” because I was doing dishes or folding laundry or re-organizing the junk drawer for the bazillionth time?

Certainly enough to eliminate me from the running for any Mother of the Year awards, but, fortunately not enough to warrant a call to CPS, either. Most definitely more than I’d like to admit, though.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to do anything dramatic like quit my job so that I can focus on raising my 4 kids and not counting. I, personally, enjoy the lifestyle that my career provides. But, next time my kids interrupt me, I’m going to ask myself, “What is the distraction here?” And turn my attention away from the distraction to focus on what is most important. At least that’s what I’m going to try and do.

So, next time you hear me say that I am channeling my inner Michelle, you’ll know what I mean. It doesn’t mean that I’m trying to get knocked up again (LORD knows). It simply means that I’m trying to be a better, more patient, more focused parent, with fewer distractions.

BTW – I Googled it….I forgot to mention Jason in between Jeremiah and James.