Thursday, December 10, 2009

A little political

I usually don't delve into politics here, but this does a little.

I was listening to NPR yesterday and there was someone on there speaking about the healthcare debate. Dr. Atul Gawande equated what needs to happen to healthcare to now what happened with food last century. You can read a transcript or listen to the interview here, so I won't go into it too much.

However, his premise was basically that at the turn of last century, food prices were very high and about 40% of Americans' incomes went to food. As a result, the government tried to lower food costs through various methods and succeeded.

And now we're dealing with healthcare costs on a similar level. He believes the government needs to fix healthcare in the same way, with various small steps rather than one big overhaul. And I'm not necessarily disagreeing with that. My concern is that we don't address really what the change in food production did.

Food can be very cheap in the U.S. now, but is the cheap food really worth the money we pay for it? We changed the way food was produced and got rid of the "inefficient" lower-yield small farmers and eventually went to mega farms reliant on pesticides and fertilizers. Is this really a better way to produce the food for the nation? I don't think so.

Also, is there possibly some correlation between us being able to get cheap food that is less nourishing and more crap-filled (and yes, I'm sure that's a technical term) and our nation being less healthy and having higher healthcare costs? The healthcare and insurance systems are way out of whack, I'm not denying that, but we as a nation are a lot less healthy in general than we were a century ago. We might live longer, but we are much more reliant on meds to keep us going than we were then.

I believe there is a correlation, a big one. I don't have facts and figures to back it up, this is just my opinion. I think this is something that is gravely overlooked and this interview I think really brought it to the forefront, even if inadvertently.

Any thought?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Just Checking In

Wow, I have been CRAZY busy lately. Working way too many hours and I just don't have the energy to blog when I get home! Sorry guys. Things should settle down soon, I hope.

This is an example of what NOT to do.

I hosted Thanksgiving at my house this year for my in-laws. It all went pretty well, but I ran out of room in my fridge! Do NOT go to the store the weekend before and buy all your groceries PLUS a 20lb turkey that needs to thaw and then come home and make 18 pints of chicken stock before you have your mom's pressure canner. Don't do that, it makes life difficult. Thankfully I did fit everything in, just barely!

But we did have so much food leftover that the first night some things lived on the front porch. Thankfully it was nice and cool the whole time :) After having a dinner of leftovers with the neighbors Friday, I managed to get it all in the refrigerator.

Things are going well with the low-carb thing. Some days are harder than others, that's for sure, but overall it's not bad! I've lost about 15 pounds so far, which is great, and feel much, much better.

I haven't shared any recipes like I had promised, but I really don't have anything exciting to share. I've just been eating the some stuff, just without the carbs. I have a few yummy tricks, like whipping cream and a teaspoon of sugar-free chocolate pudding mix whipped together, YUM!

Since I'm past the two-week induction phase, I've started to add a few more carbs in. I'm sticking at 25 for the moment because I've really seemed to slow down in the loss category. I think Dr. Pepper is to blame. I was doing really well with soda, only drinking the occasional glass of diet orange with cream and not 2-3 cans of diet dr. pepper a day like before. But then my mother-in-law brought a case for Thanksgiving and left it hear. It was delicious and wonderful, but got me pretty much hooked again! Not as bad before, but I crave it again. The good news is that I just finished the case off yesterday, so I guess I drank it more slowly than I used to (and I wasn't the only one drinking it on Thanksgiving Day, just after...).

Since upping my carbs to 25, I've been able to add in strawberries and cocoa roast almonds. Even though I'm paying almost $4/quart for strawberries shipped from California, right now I think they're worth it. Here in Ohio, we're all about the root veggies right now and the only remnants of fruit are apples. And of course when I made all of my jam this summer, I was not thinking low-carb at the time, so West Coast berries are my treat now. It's not ideal, but I'll take it!

I did make a yummy pumpkin cheesecake (sugar-free) for Thanksgiving that turned out great, and I've managed a ketchup and bbq sauce. Those recipes should be up when I can get back to blogging regularly. But other than that, I've just been omitting the carbs. Like homemade beef-a-roni, only I used cauliflower instead of macaroni. It works for me!

I am, however, getting a little sick of eggs for breakfast. They're good, but sometimes I just want a really quick prep breakfast, no cooking involved. So, I did end up buying a few Atkins shakes and Atkins bars for when I'm desperate. This morning is only my fifth shake since I've started and I'm half-way through my second box of bars. So I'm in no way reliant on them, but they do come in handy once-in-a-while.

This is a picture of three eggs about to be scrambled.
Can you tell which came from my mom's chickens
(the new ones are laying now, woohoo!)
and which came from the store? Mom's are still a little small,
but the color alone shows you how much better they are!

Lastly, I am starting another new adventure. I can't say much about it yet, but I hope to help other people learn to be frugal (and a little treehuggy too!). My first step is complete, I've made my own shopping bag! I used the Charlie pattern at and I think it turned out pretty well. I don't have a serger, so I used french seams and bias tape. I think I will tweak it a little bit for the future, but overall I like it!

Charlie Bag

And one last thought to leave you with...our first snow!
And no, not all four of those recycle bins are mine, we share pickup with the neighbors :)