Friday, February 5, 2016

Reading Lists

Within the blog, things have been a little slow-going (to the fault of no one but myself). At some point, I envisioned a website that could link a Twitter account, etc. and maybe something that had more pictures. But I'm partial to my platform. I like its simplicity and its ease of use. To be honest, I'm somewhat of a technophobe. So, instead of tweeting what I'm reading, I figured I'd include a few articles here. It's light to write and light to read. Happy Friday. Enjoy! :)

Why it's so hard to cut back on sugar (and what to do about it): This Washington Post article, written by nutritionist Ellie Krieger essentially points to the fact that sugar acts much like a drug (albeit maybe not a schedule I substance). Creating intense cravings and heavy withdrawals, it reflects something I've experienced for a long time. As stated in Deprivation Sensations, the cessation of eating was painful while the act of eating was pleasurable. I'm not saying I was a full blown addict but let's just say a lot of my money went (and still does) to food (beyond the survival sense). This, for me, was why Salt, Sugar, Fat was such an important book. It was my first glimmer that perhaps my relationship with food went beyond the emotional realm and into the chemical one as food companies sought and still seek to identify concoctions that incite pleasant experiences which leave their customers returning for more. And who doesn't like to throw some blame away from themselves anyways. But, as stated in Meh-n, new dietary guidelines have been released by the Agriculture and Health and Human Services Department which call for many Americans to reduce their sugar intake... no small feat for a government rife with lobbyists for the cartels, err, food companies. It also segues well into article number two.

New Dietary Guidelines Urge Less Sugar for All and Less Protein for Boys and Men: In Cuchillos y Cucharas, I referenced the movie Forks Over Knives which attempted, in part, to debunk the myth that humans must rely exclusively on meat for their protein intake. Indeed there is one scene in which the responses to the question, "why is meat important" turn out to be, "protein", "protein", "protein", "protein" and, "for protein". But this may not always be the case. While I jokingly referred to large food companies (think General Mills, Nabisco, etc.) as cartels my limited education on nutrition has taught me the meat industry (think Tyson and Smithfield Foods) is not any better in their use of influence to affect public policy (indeed, at one point, Tyson Foods was allowed to receive tax benefits as a family farm). Indeed, the article looks at the new dietary guidelines which suggest Americans as a whole limit their intake of (added, refined) sugar and that male adults and male teens reduce their intake of protein. While such a suggestion seems adequate for one's health, it struck me as somewhat of a watershed decision against large business. I'm not against large business per se but I had been sad to read that many of the ones involved in food production often beat out the government when it came to transparency. Through the books Salt, Sugar, Fat and The Meat Racket, the government seemed to lose time and time again when engaging in battles that would ultimately allow consumers to know what they were buying or even should be buying for their health. So I'm happy to see government take a stand, possibly requiring producers to clearly state the amount of added sugars in their products (as opposed to hiding the amount among several, elusive ingredients) and finally telling the public what they need to hear as opposed to what the meat industry wants to hear that we need meat, meat, meat. It's better for our bodies and it's better for the environment... which brings us to article number three.

The Privilege of Eating Wild Food: I've been trying to eat food which is more natural. This is not done as a dieting strategy but as more of a challenge to see how difficult it actually is to eat unprocessed foods over ones of convenience put out by the above companies. Throughout this process, I've noticed that my concerns have gone beyond food which is just healthy and into the realm of how it is produced. Is it organic? Raised in a sustainable fashion? To be honest, these are not as much concerns as much as curiosities and, while I think everyone should eat healthy, I know this realm of nutrition is more of an optional engagement while others have lives to carry on with. But, nonetheless, this article caught my eye, no pun intended. The article (written by New York Times food editor, Sam Sifton) looks a little at the practice and consumption of fish, one of the last wild-caught animals. Engaging in this practice, as Sifton notes, is often looked down upon due to the decreasing availability of the good but is actually a practice which intertwines the fishermen with nature as they must conserve their product's tenuous existence. Indeed, many cooks who work closely (read: slaughter) the animals they serve have noted a certain abhorrence to wasting what they had to work for. An interesting phenomenon to note. It's a good read and also has a good recipe for Cod Cakes.

Always Hungry?: Another book to be discussed another time. Overhauls dietary theory.

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