Monday, March 29, 2010

Ready for the Food Revolution?

Forget the “War on Obesity.” There’s already a “War on Healthy Eating.” As a soldier for truth and tofu, I know of what I speak: I take the shots every day for the good and good-for-me food I eat (and enjoy).

And now, as a Mom, I take the shots for the nutritious, but apparently not “normal,” food I feed my daughter, like quinoa porridge. Processed chicken fingers are fine (says society), but an ancient grain that’s high in calcium and protein is highly suspect. Where are our priorities?

I do my homework. I read labels. I ask questions. I won’t settle. And, because of that, people around me think it’s okay to belittle me for feeding my daughter what is, essentially, real food. I honestly get asked questions like, “But you let her eat sugar, right?” And my daughter is not even one year old, yet.

Of course I don’t let her eat sugar! I am her parent, and I’m setting her up for a (long) lifetime of good health and good eating habits. It’s not always easy, but it’s always right.

I’ve been a vegetarian for 20 years, and a vegan for the last few, and I also eat a mostly organic, raw diet. Frankly, I’m tired of the abuse. As those around me get more and more obese and unhealthy, their attacks on my lifestyle now feel like desperate attempts to distract from the real issue: Eating unhealthy food is (get ready for it) unhealthy.

There are no two ways around it.

So, what is it about food? Why is it as bloody a battlefield as politics and religion? When I became a vegetarian, many of my relatives were upset. Upset? That I choose not to eat meat? That I care about other living things? That I want only what’s best to go into my body? What does that have to do with you?

I’ve come to understand that people are intimidated by change, never more so than when faced by change at the dinner table. Read Dr. Kessler's The End of Overeating, and you’ll see that it’s more than just all in our heads—it’s all in our society (and product marketing), too. But it is possible to buck the (sick) system, and make better choices . . . and to enjoy those choices, too.

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution is a brilliant television show about just that. This show is on ABC Fridays at 9:00pm. This new series is “about how families eat, what kids get at school and why the diet of processed food and snacks is causing so many health and obesity problems.”

Sure, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution a reality show (of which I’m not a big fan) but I’m so in love with the concept of revolutionizing the way Americans eat, that I’m willing to overlook a little creative editing and product placements.

British chef Jamie Oliver is known around the world for his back-to-basics approach to truly yummy cuisine; if you’ve ever seen his cooking show, you’ll know he tends to cook with ingredients he plucked himself from his garden. I like that.

I watched the premier of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and am rooting for Jamie and his quest. I’m also in a state of panic over the highly processed crap that serves as “food” in many American schools. As far as nutrition goes, our school system currently earns an F. Here’s hoping that, once the Food Revolution erupts, we’ll be on our way to that A. And while that might never include quinoa porridge, I am hoping it means a lot fewer chicken fingers.

Go Jamie—If your revolution needs a cheerleader, I'm here!

P.S. If you support Jamie's mission, sign this petition that Jamie hopes to take to the White House after the TV series airs, to show The President and First Lady how many people across the country really care about this and ask for their support.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Is your mind like concrete?

While enjoying a walk this beautiful, blue-skied morning, I passed a business with a sign out front that said this: Some minds are like concrete: all mixed up and permanently set.

The idea accurately describes so many people . . . many in politics.

If you’re reading this blog, I have a feeling your mind isn’t anything like concrete. I certainly hope my mind isn’t! I follow an organic, vegan, mostly-raw-food diet; I exercise 6 days a week; and I'm totally green, which easily puts me in the "alternative lifestyle" category. In addition, I’m always open to new ideas and actually think it’s okay to be proven wrong from time to time (whenever that happens, it reminds me that my mind isn’t concrete).

Earlier today, before my walk, I stumbled on someone else’s blog . . . someone else who just happens to share my same name. It seemed like fate that I found it as Kristyn is currently embracing “the importance of organic food, exercise and spiritual well being.” Unfortunately, Kristyn’s enlightenment comes as a result of her husband's recent cancer diagnosis.

I can’t tell you how many people I know, some personally, who turned to my so-called alternative lifestyle after receiving an identical or similar diagnosis. Something has got to change.

Did you know that most Doctors take one—just one!—nutrition course during their schooling? And most harbor very antiquated views about the relationship between diet and health. Talk about concrete thinking. And we entrust our health to these people.

I subscribe to the idea of farmacies, not pharmacies. Food is the most powerful drug there is. And so I’m sending out my best positive thoughts to the other Kristyn Miller and her husband and children . . . and, Kristyn, if you need me to send any tried-and-true vegan recipes along with those positive thoughts, just let me know! I can be reached at info at

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Should you really be thanking “G” it’s Friday?

There’s only one food group that shouldn’t have to provide its nutritional information: Everything Mother Nature herself creates.

A peach, for instance, doesn’t offer enough real estate on its blushing backside for the 4-1-1 on how many calories it contains; it also doesn’t need to list its ingredients because, well, it’s a peach.

Providing nutritional information should be mandatory for everything Mother Nature does not create (and which, in most cases, involves men wearing hair nets and even beard nets . . . and chemicals, preservatives, fillers, and other nasty science experiments).

In the eye-opening, stomach-turning expose, The China Study, you’ll learn how the food industry works hard to make what we eat less healthy and more desirable (there’s even a revelation about how fast-food chains “pre-chew” their meat . . . gag).

So when I read this MSN article on America's Unhealthiest Restaurants, I couldn’t believe that Applebee’s, IHOP, Outback, and T.G.I. Friday’s still don’t provide the nutritional information on the “food” they serve.

Come on, guys, what are you hiding?

And come on, consumers, why are you putting up with this?

You are what you eat and if you choose to spend your money at a fast-food joint, at least respect yourself by ordering the healthiest thing on the menu. Remember, a garden salad doesn't always come out of a garden.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Do you think Kris Carr would ever read this blog?

To the witty, wild, and oh-so-wise Kris Carr:

This past Friday, I had my own miracle on the Hudson—on the Hudson River Valley, that is. I walked into a veg café in Woodstock, NY for a late lunch with the family and saw . . . you.

Did you experience the thrill of time standing still? Probably not. But, let me tell you, it did, and it was so cool.

You, champion of the Crazy Sexy Life, are one of the greatest teachers and cheerleaders of my crazy sexy life.

It’s because of you that I have a Vita-Mix blender and a Breville juicer (go green juice!). It’s because of you that I transitioned from vegetarian to partly-raw-food vegan (oh, yeah, I survived a detox with Natalia Rose). It’s because of you that I have a stack of books about healthy living on my nightstand (I just finished The China Studywow). And, most importantly, it’s because of you that I take the time, often, to appreciate all the awesome gifts I have in my life: beautiful baby (about to celebrate her first birthday on Earth Day!), terrific guy, amazing parents, great friends, and my dream job (freelance writer).

I’ve watched your documentary, Crazy Sexy Cancer, a handful of times and I always laugh, cry, and learn something new that improves my life. How do you thank someone for that? I don’t think you can, but the way I try is to share your inspirational story and kick-ass attitude with as many people as possible.

It would have been great to tell you all of this in person, but I’m shy . . . and I also didn’t want to interrupt your lunch (how rude!). And so I hope this posting somehow makes it way to you—maybe, just maybe, time will stand still again when it does.

Sending peace, love, and veggies to you,

P.S. During the drive to Woodstock, Mark and I were talking about how Food Network needs to include a show about healthy eating that celebrates the many pleasures of that lifestyle. “Of course, Kris Carr would make the best host,” I said. “She’s passionate, educated, and utterly motivating.” The current exploitation of a high-fat, high-sugar, high-salt, animal-based diet is truly (and literally) sickening. 30-Miracle Meals instead of 30-Minute Meals? Surely, this country is hungry for the change.