Food Matters and reflection

March 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

2011 has been a major fail on the cooking front. Last semester, despite all the stress of settling into school law, I still managed to have people over for small dinner parties and cook lunch for the week. What happened? A sprained ankle (that's still in the process of healing), a bitterly cold Ithaca winter, and general lack of inspiration. But NO MORE. 

Last weekend, while cleaning my apartment for the first time in weeks, I stumbled on Mark Bittman's Food Matters which had been hiding under a pile of my Economist magazines and once again read about the truly disgusting practices of factory farms in America, the impact such practices have on the environment as well as our bodies, and Bittman's gradual shift to a lifestyle he liked to call, "vegan 'til six," where he'd eat a vegan diet for breakfast and lunch and then indulge in whatever he wanted for dinner each day. In the process, he got rid of his sleep apnea, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar and shed 35 pounds.  

As a grad student with (very) limited funds, it's not realistic for me to suddenly buy grass-fed beef, only whole grains, and all organic fruits and vegetables. I am, however, very intrigued by the notion that, in a country where it's sometimes much cheaper to buy instant mac and cheese in bulk than locally grown fruit, it's nevertheless possible to eat healthily and responsibly without spending more money on groceries. 

No, I don't plan on becoming a total whole food zealot anytime soon; there will still be bacon cheeseburgers and Cajun fries for this occasional glutton, but it'll be interesting to see how well I can exercise my restraint for baked goods, diet soda, and junk food, whether vegetarian food can ever really compare to food that includes meat, whether this kind of "flexitarian" lifestyle is feasible for someone on a low budget, and how much of an effect such a lifestyle can really have on one's health. And to set some parameters for myself, my approach to flexitarianism, at least initially, is going to entail two vegetarian meals (well, technically, they'd be ovo-lacto-vegetarian meals since I'm allowing myself eggs and dairy products at first) and then one meal that's completely unrestricted, with no specific distribution as to which meal is veg or nonveg. 

Here's to a new year (two months late) with high goals for health and perhaps a permanent change for the better. 

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