Friday, January 1, 2010
An Inspiration, Not an Exact Definition
Since it is actually January 1st – how the hell did that happen? – we have been forced to solidify our guidelines for 2010. There is much debate over terms such as “processed,” “natural,” “organic,” “wholesome,” etc. In this post, we are not attempting to universally define these words. What we sought were working parameters for our diet in the year 2010 and hopefully beyond. Our resources are not unlimited, and neither is our time – and we understand that our readers are limited by similar constraints. The goals of this project are to have fun, be healthy, and open both your minds and ours to a new way of thinking about nourishing our bodies. So, while you may define processing of food as shipping, washing, handling etc, we have not taken our ideas to such an extreme. We know that you might argue that items such as milled flour should not be a part of our “unprocessed” diet, but our intent is to keep the project accessible to everyone. If our guidelines and recipes are so far detached from mainstream American life, and our readers are therefore not inspired to replicate them at home, we have lost sight of the main goal.
We will, of course, be eating a form of processed foods. If I brine a batch of pickles, I have indeed processed the cucumbers. However, I have taken control of where my food came from and what went into it. I control the process. I know what I am eating.
In addition, we have only partially –not completely – lost our minds. We do reside in one of the best “food cities” in America. To suggest that we will not eat in a restaurant for the duration of 2010, is insane. So, we have built in an exception to the rules. Each week, we will permit ourselves one meal consumed in a restaurant. When we dine out, we will, however, choose items that we believe fit best within our parameters.
-Challenge ourselves to think outside the proverbial box
-Teach friends and family how to make simple changes that benefit their health
-Be properly nourished
-Maintain healthy blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels
-Prevent cardiovascular disease and diabetes
-commercially canned food
-commercially frozen food (although exceptions may be made for peas, lima beans, and soy beans)
-commercially produced condiments such as: ketchup, soy sauce, mustard, mayo, etc
-anything containing HFCS or just plain old corn syrup
-hydrogenated or trans fats
-anything with preservatives or additives (especially those that cannot be pronounced by a lay person)
-anything prepared outside of the home including (but not limited to): bread, cookies, chips, pasta, soup, candy, crackers, juice, pickles
-soda and other bottled non-alcoholic beverages
-industrial cheeses such as cream cheese, kraft etc
-commercially ground meat
-commercially smoked or cured fish and meat -- including deli meats
-anything containing nitrates
-commercially cultured non-cheese dairy products such as: yogurt, sour cream etc
-pre-portioned and shrink wrapped meat (we will purchase larger cuts and trim/portion them ourselves)
-spice mixes such as chili powder, curry powder, etc
To Be Used With Discretion:
-processed and refined sugars (other than honey and maple syrup which we have deemed “in” for now)
-white flour, corn flour and/or starch, rice flour
Seemingly Questionable But Still Allowed (At Least For Now):
-beer (is homebrew in our future?)
-vinegar (until we can find a mother and cultivate it)
-plain olive oil and canola oil
-unflavored sparkling water (although we plan to purchase the machine which carbonates tap water)
-coffee & tea
What We Will Try To Eat More of:
-whole grain and whole grain meals
-fresh fruits and veggies
-whole fish or large sides
-sustainable shellfish (in the shell, whole)
-home-fermented foods high in pro-biotics such as pickles and yogurts
-buffalo or grass-fed meat (as opposed to corn fed beef or pork)
-foraged, local foods
Finally, we knew the January 1st deadline was coming. Yet, we didn’t anticipate just how quickly it would sneak up on us. What we have listed here is a beginning. As the year evolves, our guidelines will too. We hope that we have piqued your interest, and we look forward to hearing your opinions and thoughts on our project, our recipes, and how to make this blog a better resource for your health.
Until next time, Bon Appetit.
Pictured above is our lunch of Dungeness crabs (rated Best Choice by the Monterey Bay Aquarium) hosted by Ben's boss on a houseboat in Saulsalito -- one heck of a way to welcome the new year!