Thursday, December 02, 2010

Time Flies

It is December Already!

Asher Quinn was born on Sept 28, 2010 and we are all in Love with the sweet beautiful boy!

I have done a bit of knitting.
I did finish mom's birthday socks. There was some doubt you know. Of course, she handed them back and asked me to add a few rows and re knit the toes. No matter how I knit the socks this happens every year.

I have added a few inches to the Damask Kauni cardigan I'm knitting but it is slow going for me, I just can't make myself stop reading when I have down time. I know I should plug myself into an audible book on the ipod instead, but when I am really in need of a get away, losing myself in a book or even a fanfiction story is where I go for vacation. So the Damask is puttering along but not quickly at all.

Yesterday, I realized as I was tooling down the highway on the way to babysit Asher at 5:15 in the morning that it was December first, that I didn't have a December Daily Album made, and that I had left my camera at home! I was most upset. Time got me again.

When I got home in the late afternoon I gathered my box of Christmas scraps and my pile of Christmas scrapbook paper. I grabbed the book I had gutted to use for this project Months ago and proceeded to create a December Daily Journal. It is a hybrid between an Art Journal, A scrap book and a Remains of the Day Journal. I'll try to post a picture of it tomorrow.

Tomorrow I babysit Asher again. The camera is already packed.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

My Food Revolution

I say it started in May, but it really started much earlier than that. I just lost my way.

I Read.
I read a lot.
I read books.
I read blogs.
I read studies.
I read knitting patterns.
and now
I read food labels too.

Earlier this year I told you about Mrs. Q. the teacher eating school lunches for a whole school year. I told you I was worried about her health. Well, she is doing okay, amazingly after eating half a year of school food. She has learned a lot and those of us who have been reading her blog have been learning right along with her. Sometimes she gets me fired up. If you haven't checked her out I encourage you to do so. This weekend she is having a blog party.

This year I have learned so much about food and deception and the USDA and unfortunately about the school lunch program. My child doesn't even participate in the program. She doesn't even go into the lunchroom. Not that I really blame her. I'd take a quiet room with a teacher and a few other students over the loud echoing walls and processed food any day.

I've read books by Michael Pollan, Chef Ann, Nina Planck, Marion Nestle and others. My eyes have been opened. If you only have a small amount of time and you want to help yourself first, read "Food Rules" by Michael Pollan. It might just change your life. It is short, you can read it in an hour. Then read it again. Then pass it on to a friend and change their life. Then go to the library or bookstore and check out some of those other people.

Did you know that the Average American Adult eats over 141 pounds of sweeteners a year. (That is SUGAR.) Most drink 53 Gallons of soda a year!

That is a lot of HFCS. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is in Everything. If you are eating a processed meal chances are it is in there. If you are eating fast food it is in at least 2 or 3 items on your tray.

In May, I decided that I would stop eating HFCS. First to go were soft drinks. I never drank diet soft drinks anyway, because of reactions to the artificial sugar substitutes. So no more Soft drinks. I lost 8 pounds in 1 month.
Then we stopped eating out so much. The money we have saved is amazing.
We don't buy processed food. I'm cooking more. I've lost over 12 pounds this Summer. I fit in my clothes better. I feel better.

Summer is easy.
There are tons of fresh veggies in the Summer. Farmers markets with seasonal foods and fresh eggs. The true test will be back to school this Fall. When I'm tired at the end of a day. Will I be able to hold out on the no processed foods? We will see.
Breakfast for dinner is always an option right?

What does this have to do with your kids and the way they eat at school? It has to start at home. You have to start with yourself and your family. You have to educate yourself. You can not believe everything the USDA tells you. That food pyramid was bought and paid for by big business. (Beef, corn and milk)

It all starts at home. Once you have the knowledge then you can start working on the schools.

My child, my family eats well. What burns me up is that it is the kids that need those school meals the most, the ones that don't get a good breakfast at home or even a good evening meal at home, are the ones that are losing so much. The ones that count on good food to help them grow not just physically, but mentally are not getting it through the Federal School Lunch program. What started off as a program to help our children during the depression has been hijacked somewhere along the way. All parents should care about this but in order to have change we Must know what we are talking about. We must educate ourselves.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Label Confusion

I've been reading a lot this Summer.
I've read Michael Pollan's "In Defense of Food" and "Food Rules". Both are excellent.

Earlier this year I read “Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children” by Ann Cooper & Lisa M. Holmes . Then I read The Gospel of Food: Everything you Think You Know About Food Is Wrong” by Garry Glassner.

Then I picked up Fast Food Nation and Chew on This by Eric Schlosser after seeing the movie Food Inc. (these books are being donated to a friend’s classroom he teaches health to 9th graders and is glad to add them to his class library)

Now I'm almost finished with Real Food: What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck(highly recommend). I've skimmed though What to Eat by Marion Nestle. I've drooled through Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carrol and The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters and Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.

It has been quite a foodie adventure. I've learned a lot. I've even lost a few pounds. Some of the things I've read are life changing. I'll save them for another post.

I was talking to my mom over coffee the other day. We do that a lot. She walks her dog to my house for coffee almost every morning. That morning the discussion was about labeling and meat.
You know you go into a grocery store, a regular grocery and you know that most of the meat you can buy there will be the same meat that is raised for the fast food industry. It is true.
So Mom asked how can you tell by looking at the labels even at Whole Foods if the meat is factory meat or old fashioned farm raised.

Well here is what Nina Planck has to say about that. Hope it helps you figure out what to eat.
The following is taken from Real Food What to Eat and Why pages 117 - 119.

means the food was produced without synthetic fertilizer, antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, genetically engineered ingredients, and irradiation. Organic does Not mean animals were grass-fed or pastured. Organic beef, pork and poultry eat organic grain, but most commercial versions are not raised on grass, or their access to pasture is minimal.

Conversely, Grass-fed and Pastured don't mean animals were raised to organic standards, But the grass farmer who uses antibiotics, hormones, pesticides or genetically engineered foods is rare. Grass-fed means animials were raised on grass and hay. How much varies widely the term is not legally defined.

Grass Finished beef was raised on grass and fattened with grain.

Pastured applies to pork, poultry and eggs. when animals are raised on pasture. Pastured chickens eat corn, insects and sour milk as well as grass. (my note: and other leftovers and vegetation.)
On eggs or poultry the label Vegetarian feed is misleading. It means chickens were not fed other ground-up chickens(in the feed) and that's good. But chickens are not natural vegetarians. What it does mean is the birds never went outside; if they had, they might have eaten a grub or two. Free-range poultry and eggs says nothing about grass. It means the birds aren't in cages, but they may be in barns or on bare dirt. Grass is the key source of beta-carotene, CLA and omega-3 fats in pastured poultry and eggs.

The label Natural says nothing about the animal's diet. It means the product contains no artificial flavor or color, chemical preservative or any other artificial ingredient.

According to the USDA "all fresh meat" qualifies as "natural"

So that chicken I've been buying from Whole Foods is barn raised, fed a vegetarian diet, but no hormones or antibiotics were added to the feed.
The eggs I buy from the Zimmerman's are pastured. The chickens get to eat bugs and grass and scratch in the dirt like happy chickens.

It is discouraging to me that we have so little control over our food. That we have to research in order to know just what we are putting into our bodies. It is so easy Not to question that it is scary.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

It's been Forever

This part of a swatch I knit for the Kauni sweater I'm knitting using the Damask pattern.
This is the ribbing for the actual sweater.

Facebook and RL have eaten all my time.
I am actually knitting a Kauni sweater. . The corrigated ribbing took a bit of time(picture above), but once I learned a few tricks the actual color work is going really well.

Not that I will finish quickly.
The Biggest News of course is that DD1 who is nearly in her 28th week of pregnancy has been put on modified bedrest for the next month. All good positive thoughts and prayers are much appreciated. Her last ultra sound showed that the baby really is a boy and weighs in at 2 lbs 6 oz.
I have joined Kelly Kilmers Memories and Reflections online class. Haven't started yet but I have joined. I did actually do an art journal page last week and cut out a few images this week.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

HFCS vs Table Sugar

One man takes on big business. Check it out:

He has a group on facebook.
He offers no opinion he just posts links to articles and studies.
The above link is to an article in the Organic Connection Magazine.
I found it very interesting.
I found it disconcerting that HFCS is found in baby formula. WHY do you need to put
it in baby formula?

HFCS is in almost everything! Just pick up a box in your local grocery and look at the ingredient list. It is probably listed either 2nd or 3rd.

I'll rant more when I feel better.

at the tail end of a sinus infection.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

out like a lamb

It is the end of March!
How did that happen?
It could get up to 75 degrees today. It will probably snow next week.

I have flowers blooming and buds on all the lilacs. The redbud tree is about to burst too.
I don't have a lot to show for the first three months of the year.
I've knit a bit.
I've read a lot.
I've made a few art journal pages.

I've got lamb for Easter dinner and then a trip up North for a few days. Ah, Spring Break.
Anyone want to bet me that Mariah will have homework?

I'm looking forward to stopping by The Mannings, finding a Trader Joes to explore and seeing family. I'll listen to books on the trip and thanks to my iphone, I'll be able to check email.
Yes I am plugged in.

Now for the real stuff, I'm worried about healthcare. What makes the government think they can run healthcare when every other big social program they have started has always failed?

I'm tired of writing my representative and getting a form letter back that pats me on the head and tells me he knows what is best and let him and the government take care of it all. Seriously, why aren't our representatives doing what the people want?

Yes, healthcare needs an overhaul, but not this kind of overhaul.

Didn't Thomas Jefferson once say that " A government big enough to give you what ever you want is also big enough to take it all away."


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Staying Hydrated + BPA = Confusion.

I was catching up on my blog reading this morning and came across some interesting video's on one of my friend's blogs. It is The Story of Bottled Water. What it boils down to is that the Soft drink companies told us Tap Water wasn't good, drink bottled water and like good little drones we have taken their advertising as Truth. Very few of those bottles actually get recycled and those that don't get dumped in landfills or sent to India to pollute there, instead of being recycled.

What is more amazing is that in taste tests most tap water beats bottled for taste.

I found it all very interesting. I have been hauling my own water to school for a while now. I used to use a Sigg aluminum bottle(and a few look alike's), but then there were all those news reports of Sigg bottles having trace amounts of BPA and I stopped. Boo Me.

I have since learned that SIGG bottles made prior to August, 2008 still test at "no detectable levels" of BPA. AND SIGG bottles made since August, 2008 have a new lining that does not contain any BPA and does not use BPA in its manufacturing processes.

So now I feel that I can carry my Sigg bottles. However, the knock offs from China I'll not be using as they do give off minute traces of BPA.

It is now Spring, and I'd like to have an insulated cup that would keep my water cool. I have a very nice one from a local coffee place, Highland Coffee, but now I wonder about BPA in the plastic from it and they contain BPA. A little research on the web and I have found that the cup is a ThermoServe and they say those are BPA free. Whew!

What about the straws? I usually use a disposable plastic straw, because my cup didn't come with a straw. Hum...another search.

Here is what I found out, most current straws are made from either #2 or #5 plastic and that concern about chemical exposure is low. That is the good news.

The bad news is that although these straws are recyclable, most are not recycled. The sheer number of straws from MickyD's alone starts to look like those bottle mountains in India from the first video that started this post. Who thinks about recycling straws?

What to do. I'm using safe bottles (Sigg and some Stainless steel) and my Highland Coffee cup is safe too, but I need a straw to drink from it as the screw on lid has a straw hole in the middle.

Evidently a few companies have thought about the straw problem. I have found steel straws by RSVP (4 to a pack for about $9.), Hardened Glass Straws by Glass Dharma, Pyrex glass straws by Glass Paradise, both are dishwasher safe. Strangely I also found paper straws in many sizes from Aardvark(if you want to buy 400) and Bamboo straws which have to be boiled in vinegar and water to clean. Both the paper and the bamboo would biodegrade easily. I even remember paper straws from when I was a little kid. They collapsed easily, I wonder about Aardvark, but not enough to buy 400 straws.

I called my local Amazing Green Planet store and they have a set of 4 stainless steel straws for under $12. and I wouldn't have to pay shipping. So I may go that route to drinking cool, clean, safe water while on the go. Although those cobalt blue glass straws from Glass Paradise are calling to me.