Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Day One

May 4th, 2010
Why Today? Why start this blog today?
I have been pondering a project like this for some time. I am a full time working Mommy of two boys, Thing 1 and Thing 2. I am the devoted wife of Daddy or Darling Husband (DH). We live in Northern Manhattan and have a right lovely life up here.
A little more than 2 years ago I really needed to lose 15 pounds after the birth of my first son. I had never been so heavy in my life and felt very overwhelmed by the thought of having to lose so much weight. And furthermore I wasn't doing anything to make that goal a reality. A colleague at work told me that several co-workers were creating a group and signing up for a popular diet plan where you track your food intake and share you feelings about your experiences as a way to reinforce your weight loss. I am pretty sure that they are copyrighted and it is not my wish to piss them off, so they shall remain nameless. Needless to say I joined. I had had friends who had participated in the past and had enjoyed the experience so I said 'What the hey". My company even reimbursed me the cost of the program! Seriously what did I have to lose?
I started the program in January of 2008 and I inhaled all the information they could throw at me. Whole food options were recommended and there were also all kinds of modified processed foods too that seemed like healthy choices. I love to cook so I mostly looked for ingredients from the whole foods list for the most part. I started out with the goal of losing 15 pounds. By April, I had lost almost 25 pounds and felt better than I had in years.
The program was eye opening. And I realized that although I was nursing my baby, and everyone tells you can eat whatever you want and the pounds will just melt off, I had been eating so much junk that my weight hadn't budged. I was eating all manner of pizza and tater tots and take out food. And if I was eating it, that is all I was feeding my baby. I had a real come-to-Jesus moment because I didn't want to be feeding my baby this food. And I didn't want to admit to him that I was eating it. And I certainly did not want him growing up thinking it was okay to eat garbage all day and night.
Around the time I lost all the weight, I was in an airport. I passed by a bookstore and saw a book on the shelf that I remembered reading about in a magazine. It was 'Animal, Vegetable Miracle!' by Barbara Kingsolver. I am never one to buy just one book, so I looked down the table and picked up a copy of Michael Pollan's amazing 'The Omnivore's Delimma'. And just like that, I was started down a path I could only imagine where it would lead.
A friend recommeneded that I join the neighborhood CSA, and it sounded like something fun. It was relatively cheap and seemed like a great experiment. As I waited for that first delivery in June I read Kingsolver's lucious words teaching me about seasons, the balance of nature and even turkeys. I could practically see the dew hanging on the leaves of the tomato plants. I could feel the heat of the warm water she used to make cheese. Reading her book was an awakening. And reading her husband's commentary peppered throughout her prose taught me all kinds of information about chemical fertilizer (did you know it was made from petroleum?) and government regulations regarding tap water versus bottled water(did you know that the regulations for the cleanliness of tap water are stricter than that of bottled? And that they aren't even regulated by the same government agency??). All the information flooded over me.
Then I started Pollan's tome. I devoured his book. I read it in a matter of days. I learned more about the politics of food than I ever thought possible. And what was once a simple topic of eat what tastes good and try not to eat too much, became this mission towards whole foods in their natural state, preferably local and organic.
My son was getting bigger and eating real food, so it was fun to include him too! The veggies from the CSA were pouring in. I made a big veggie soup for him every week with anything from carrots to corn to cerlaric and turnips. My cravings for junk just vanished. We stopped going to the grocery store except for once a month and started shopping at our local farmer's market. We got to know the growers and excentric personalities at the stands. We started keeping cream in the house. I stopped tracking what I ate. I never gained back a pound. Even when the weather turned colder we kept going to the farmer's market. My son would only drink the milk from Ghent, NY and devoured the apples from Kinderhook. We made Christmas dinner almost entirely from items procured from the farmer's makert.
Then, I got pregnant again. We were thrilled and over joyed at the prospect of a second Thing. But it all became too much. The stress of cooking, the exhaustion, it was all too much. Fall turned into winter. The stands at the farmer's market dwindled down to the turkey guy and the milk lady and the stand that sells apples. They are the die-hards, they will sell their foods in the driving snow. I also took on more projects at work, and that only compounded everything. I had no time for cooking. I couldn't wake up at 5am anymore to bake muffins or shuck corn. I could barely stay awake to eat the dinner that Daddy had prepared.
And that kind of brings me to where I am today.
I still ate healthy while I was pregnant, alot healthier than my first time around. But my hunger was tough to manage and of course Pringles filled the void on several occasions. Thing 2 weighed in at a whopping 9lbs 3 ozs at birth. A full pound and three quarters bigger than Thing 1. I believe that because I ate better I had a bigger baby. And he is still my good eater!!!
I went back on the heavily copyrighted diet about 3 months after Thing 2 was born. I am proud to say that he has only ever had breastmilk, no formula, so I purposely lost the weight slowly, a pound or so a week, not super fast like the first time. I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight when Thing 2 was about 6 months old. I was THRILLED! But it wasn't quite the same. I was fighting cravings left and right. I swear croissants would actually talk to me as I walked down the street. Every 16 oz lost was a triumph.
I am not sure what made me buy two more Michael Pollan books 'In Defense of Food' and 'Food Rules'. Maybe I just felt spring coming on again. Maybe I just got curious about nutrition. Maybe I remembered the inspiration he lent me two years ago. Whatever the reason I can't put him down again. And his words on nutritionism have me on the move again. We even went back to the farmer's market last week, all four of us.
So here I am on May 4th, 2010. And starting a blog about my life in food in the coming year seems so right. Now that Thing 2 is starting to eat real food, and Thing1 is firmly lodged in the land of hot dogs it seems like the time to get back to food that is right.

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