This was the post I planned to write:
“I have to confess, I haven’t read Mark Bittman’s Food Matters yet, but I am intrigued by what I read in this review. A 'Guide to conscious eating' seems especially appropriate this time of year, when we tend to focus on eating well and starting new habits.
As a celiac, I am gluten-free by necessity, and as someone with chronic, progressive lung problems, I am dairy-free by choice. As I’ve written before, I no longer see this lifestyle as one of food exclusion but as one with a different set of possibilities. There is no question I feel better without gluten, and if the removal of dairy has made my congestion even a little better, it’s worth it to me.
I don’t plan on altering this combination too much, but I’ve thought a lot about how I want to embrace the spirit of change in the New Year. Over the past few months, I’ve shifted towards less animal protein and more plant sources, until somehow I found myself not having any animal protein until dinner, and sparing amounts at that. When I read how Bittman and a colleague embarked on a 'vegan until six' endeavor with limited simple carbohydrates to improve their health (there are lots of environmental reasons behind his choices too but I am focusing on health), I thought, 'Huh. Who knew it had its own catch phrase?'
It’s really not too much of a shift from what we’re already doing in our household—planning meals in advance, making things from scratch in larger quantities for later use, shopping the perimeter of the grocery store. In essence, I’m continuing to swap out my midday protein for a plant-based one. But the difference is that now I am doing it more consciously. High cholesterol and cardiovascular disease run in my family, and I figure I have enough issues as it is.
I know many of you out there have made lifestyle changes and dietary changes that aren’t necessary for medical conditions (like going gluten-free if you’re celiac, for example) but have made a big difference in your health and in controlling chronic conditions. What has made the biggest difference, and do you have any regrets?”
So that was the post I had set in my mind until I received an e-mail about Share Our Strength’s “Operation No Kid Hungry” campaign to raise funds to help end childhood hunger and encourage Americans to hold food drives within their own communities. According to Share Our Strength:
“This campaign responds to President-elect Obama's call to
action for corporations to serve our nation's communities and builds on his commitment to end childhood hunger by 2015.”
I got to know this organization when I wrote a newspaper article on Operation Frontline, a nutrition education program for low-income families. It was then that I really started to see that conscious, healthy eating can be affordable and manageable.
Share Our Strength is running the campaign to coincide with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and there are two ways we can all get involved:
1. Text "SHARE" to 20222 on your mobile device to donate $5. AT&T will match all text donations up to $100,000.
2. Holding food drives within their communities beginning Monday, January 19th, which is Martin Luther King Day and a national day of community service.
Visit Share our Strength for more details.
And then I thought about how much food really matters, and how lucky many of us are to have the luxury to decide just how conscious our eating can be.