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Monday, January 28, 2008

Less meat, big impact

I just read this New York Times article, which offers a global view of the impact of meat eating. Now I've known for a long time that meat has a much larger impact on the environment than plants, but this article offers some compelling statistics and offers a general sense about the actual effects of cutting back on meat consumption.

In the last year or so, I've been aiming towards eating a meatless dinner at least twice a week, though since I'm not a huge soy fan, I've found it challenging to not just substitute a meat dish for a cheese-intensive one, and I find that my skin is much nicer when I'm not eating tons of cheese.

I've been looking into getting some vegetarian cookbooks beyond the Moosewood and some old hippie cookbooks my mom had for years. My friend Erica suggested cookbooks by Debra Madison.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Makeup discoveries

Yesterday I went into Elephant Pharmacy to freshen the supplies, and to try to get rid of the things I am still using that have yucky things in them like parabens.

I stumbled upon the Jane Iredale line of makeup and I loved it. It's mineral based, but seems to work much better for me than the stuff from Essentials, which STILL contains parabens and has always been pretty gloppy and obvious when it's on. I got a pressed powder of Jane's, some wonderful eye shadow, and a great lipstick. They look and feel terrific.

I also picked up a great moisturizer with mineral-based SPF and a slight tint that I really like called by Marie-Veronique. Great, great, great discovery.

Pollan strikes again

Last night I finished Michael Pollan's latest: In Defense of Food. This book is exciting, brilliant, readable, and for us, life changing. His premise is: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." What sounds so simple and basic becomes a foundation for a fascinating look at how "nutricionism" has educated us that we simply can't understand how complex food is, that we should leave it to experts, and that they food that they engineer and manipulate is somehow superior. The result has been the overwhelming shift in the world's diets away from simple, readily recognizable foods to "food-like" substances created by the large food companies and marketed as healthy. All the while we are getting fatter and sicker.

This book has been so freeing and inspiring. Continues to propel me along the farmer's market path, and feeling better and better about it. It also gives me this wonderful sense that I never have to read another article on the "scientific" this or that about food. This is my pledge: to eat a wide variety of simple, unprocessed foods grown locally and sustainably when ever possible. And not to worry about anything else!

Whirley Pop

So, no word from our friends at Cuisinart about the nonstick coating on the popcorn maker, so back it went to gracious and accommodating Williams-Sonoma. Clerk: "I wouldn't have anything with a nonstick coating in my kitchen either."

Ended up buying a contraption that looks like it is right out of the 1950's...and it is! Called a Whirley Pop, it's an aluminum pan with a cover and crank handle that powers an arm that circles the bottom of the pan and keeps the kernals moving. Works beautifully. Only problem is the aluminum. John pointed it out and I said that HE could return the popcorn maker this round. I think we might try to find a stainless steel pot the same size and just use the clever top with crank and rotator.

Monday, January 14, 2008

teflon troubled

Caught up in the throes of after-Christmas shopping I bought a great popcorn maker for the family. By Cuisinart, cool design, easy, works wonderfully. We pulled it out of the box, all excited, and realized it had a nonstick surface. We've been hearing bits and pieces of bad news about teflon--that we all have it in our blood, that at high temperatures it can cause the "teflon flu," a passing sickness with fever and coughing that is our lungs recovering from teflon exposure, that birds in or around kitchens where Teflon reaches high heat die. Yikes! It said no where on the box that the surface was in fact Teflon, nor did it say non-stick surface. I have emailed Cuisinart and asked them three questions:
1) If it's not Teflon, what is it?
2) Does it contain the chemical PFOA?
3) What testing have they done about whether it reacts with food either chemically, or at high heats?

No answer as of one week. I think I'll be returning my new toy.
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