Saturday, August 28, 2010

Are you going to eat that?

    What is food?  Please see definitions below:


-noun 1. any nourishing substance that is eaten, drunk, or otherwise taken into the body to sustain life, provide energy, promote growth, etc.  (


Food is any substance or material[1] eaten to provide nutritional support for the body or for pleasure. (

     People eat a lot of foods that are non-nutritive: I know two year old's who eat paste, glue and crayons for pleasure. What about people who have pica? Those who have this disorder eat dirt, paper, clay and soap.  

    I would never tell you what to eat, and this is not about eating healthily (phew, thank god, you can keep reading!).  However,... I care about you, and I have a very important question to ask: Are Pringles food?  A few years back there was debate about whether Pringles were indeed a "potato chip", as they are made up of less than 50% potato product.  The majority of the starch in Pringles is wheat, so Proctor & Gamble was forced to change the name to "potato crisp".  Pringles are actually made of dehydrated potato flakes, and a special machine was developed which molds them into their now famous saddle shape.

     So, does a Pringle fit the definition of food? (I am going so easy on you,I haven't even mentioned the Olestra debacle, that had folks on the "run" (yes, you remember!).  Could Pringles  sustain you on a desert island until help arrived? Probably, yes. Could you make better food choices when not fighting to survive? Please say yes, please say yes!

     I do not have it in for Pringles.  I think they are cute, and I remember the ads from the '70's.  However, I want to make good food choices, and buying a "food" that isn't even made up of the item it pretends to be is not me at my educated consumer best.  When I have a craving for potato chips I would reach for a bag of Cape Cod Chips that look like real potato slices fried in oil (yum!).  (I do not work for Cape Cod Chips, I swear!)

     How cool is this blog? I am not telling you to stop eating potato chips, I am asking you to eat real potato chips, or real whatever else it is that you want to eat.  Get the real deal.  We have the airline industry, the auto industry, the food industry?!!  Yes, that's right, the industrial revolution changed the way we made our food.  And there is a whole industry in place that will keep making up new "foods", fats and sweeteners as long as we continue to buy them.  

     I don't want you to pound your own corn and make your own tortilla chips.  We have busy lives and we need a little help. Just think before you buy, go for the least processed, most real food you can find.  To paraphrase Michael Pollan "If your grandmother wouldn't recognize it, it's not food." 

     Now, get out there and make me proud! Eat real food!  

'Til next time,






Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tomorrow is Another Day

    I was reading an old journal I kept of my daughter Ava's antics that I wrote in regularly when she was little.  When she was a year and a half old I made the following entry: "Today you unraveled 75 feet of waxed paper-rather than get mad, I scooped it up in the air and screamed "Wheeeeeee"!! and you (Ava) joined in! We wore it as boas around our necks and carried it like flags 'til it was ragged." 

     I read this to Ava (now nine and a half, going on seventeen) and she said, "Mom, you would never do that now."  And I knew she was right!  I needed to figure out why. It is not as simple as the fact that she is growing up and I expect more from her, it's actually not about her at all.  It's about getting so bogged down in the minutiae of everyday life that you cease to find joy, or even a mild chuckle, in the situations and predicaments life hands us so regularly.

    Now, whenever a day is going particularly awry, I use my Scarlett O'Hara mantra, "Tomorrow is another day".  Life has an amazing capacity for offering us "do overs".  We can go to sleep, get a good night's rest, wake up and vow to do better the next day, even if just a little bit.   This is a little bit of a cop out, but it has worked for me in the past(!)  

    However, imagine if rather than waiting for the next morning to start fresh, we accept life's little challenges as they arrive on our laps and greet them with a fresh perspective. What if we laughed when the cat tipped over the milk, we sang that song playing on the radio instead of cursing at the slow car in front of us, or we apologized for snapping at our kids or our spouse for something of relatively little importance. 

    I have just read an amazing book that chronicles the ability that we all have within us to begin to greet life's challenges with a positive attitude and increase our joy, hopefulness and gratitude exponentially in a way that will truly change our lives.  It calls to mind the concept of "mindfulness" in Buddhist traditions that has been associated with alleviating anxiety, depression and a host of physical ailments. (No, I do not get a commission!) Check out the link below and read a few pages from this true pioneer in the field of psychology, for free!

Positivity: Groundbreaking Research Reveals How to Embrace the Hidden Strength of Positive Emotions, Overcome Negativity, and Thrive by Barbara Frederickson

   Okay, let's face it. This book is not going to walk your dog for you, and it won't cook dinner for your family when you come home from work completely worn out.  But you may look at your neighborhood in a different way while you are out walking the dog, and you may feel immense gratitude as your family eats the meal you cooked that they are all healthy and chewing with their mouths closed.  Works for me!

    I think you get the idea, and I hope you are smiling even if reading this made you late for work.  If not, revert to the wisdom of Scarlett O'Hara and let me know how it goes...

'Til next time,


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

We Can Make it Better-Yeah!


Everyone knows we need to slow down, stop and smell the roses, eat healthy, excercise, be kind to our family, find meaningful work, spend time with friends, right? And when we do even one of the above things, we feel good, right? Then why aren't these things that are good for us easier to do on a regular basis? 

It begs that old adage about the definition of crazy: You are crazy if you constantly engage in a certain behavior and expect a different outcomeWhy would we expect to feel better on any given day if every night we come home and eat a microwave or takeout dinner, drink a few beers and slouch down in front of the tubeThere is an old Buddhist proverb: To wish is to want what is the opposite of our existence (paraphrasing, people!).  We cannot "wish" for life to get better, we have to actively participate in making it happen. Ugh, that sounds like it is going to require effort! Truly, thinking about making things better, no matter what that thing is, is the first step toward making it better 

I am not a Pollyanna and I know these are tough times for many people, myself included, but little things do really make a difference, in your own life and the lives of others.  In this blog I will share everything from books, movies, and music to recipes, and your stories if you will share them, of the baby steps that we can all take toward living lives that we feel better about.  There is no magic pill, we have to do this the old fashioned way, but when you connect with other people and the scales start tipping in your favor in a way that has you smiling, we all will benefit.  We are all in this together (no, that is not a "High School Musical" quote!).

So, come back again and check out this blog. I promise, it won't hurt a bit.

Carpe diem, or maybe just carpe a few minutes,