Lucky stars, tasty food and a fresh start

28 Aug

Get ready – this one’s going to be a bit of a doozie.

Last fall, when I was just starting to get into but not quite fully immersed in the world of food and healthy living blogs, I was taking a sociology class called Classes & Inequality. If you’ve been reading from the beginning, you might remember me talking about a paper I had to write for this class about a “pet peeve” inequality in our society. After some thinking, I finally decided on the inequality that lies in the availability (or lack thereof) of nutritious foods for everyone, regardless of income. Many people are afflicted with various conditions that require them to maintain a strict diet, a diet that may cost more than is feasible for them to spend. Other people may just want to eat better but do not have the financial means to do so, so they continue to buy unhealthy foods because they are generally cheaper. What’s even worse is that many people in this country alone don’t even have access to education that would teach them about eating well.

Anyway, before I completely rewrite this paper for you, the bottom line is that there are people in our own country who could reap the immense benefits of a healthy diet but for whatever reason do not have access to it. If you have access to healthy food, it’s easy to forget that people around us such as classmates, coworkers and neighbors might not. I know whenever I’m chowing down on a good bowl of oatmeal or a dinner full of vegetables, I don’t always think, “I am so lucky to have this kind of food on a regular basis.”

This is actually something that’s been on my mind off and on since doing the research for and writing that paper. The fact that I’m currently (and finally – I bought it over spring break and it came out in 2006) reading Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma has made me think about it even more lately. If you don’t know what this book is about, you could read the summary on Amazon, but basically Michael Pollan (a journalist and a professor at UC Berkeley) follows four “meals” from the beginning of the process of however they are grown/manufactured to the dinner table. It’s so interesting and I recommend it to anyone who doesn’t mind looking a little deeper into where your food comes from. The first section is entirely about corn, which I probably find especially intriguing given my recently discovered intolerance to the grain that’s in everythang. Some of it is slightly uncomfortable to read and makes me glad that I do not eat meat/corn anymore, but overall it’s informative and thought-provoking. There’s also apparently a version of this book for kids, so if any of you have older kids, slip this under the crook of their arm while they’re sleeping.

(Sorry, I have a hard time organizing my thoughts when it comes to things that make the wheels in my brain turn, so if this just seems like a big jumble of words to you, pictures-a-plenty will show up if you scroll down a bit.)

It’s probably common knowledge by now that I’m a wee bit behind in some “foodie trends”, but within the last week I’ve made some giant strides, if I do say so myself. I don’t mind being “behind”, though, because it just means more for me to discover 🙂

I guess we’ll start with the chia seeds I bought earlier this week . I debuted them in my breakfast of oats in a Peanut Butter & Co “The Bee’s Knees” jar.

1/2 cup stovetop oats, 1 cup water, sliced banana cooked in, drizzle of honey and 1 T of chia magic

I knew the chia seeds wouldn’t affect the taste, and maybe this was just in my mind, but I seemed to be fuller for longer than I normally would have been after a breakfast like this.

I had them again the next day (Thursday) in a slightly different variation of oats, this time in a boring bowl.

1/2 cup stovetop oats, 1 cup almond milk, 1/2 banana cooked in, spoonful of almond butter, drizzle of honey, 1 T chia magic

up close and personal

My only complaint about the chia seeds it that they got stuck in my teeth really easily – nothing a bit of flossing won’t fix, though.

Thursday I also got not one but two packages in the mail. The first I never managed to snap a picture of before I transferred it to a jar, but it was a 2 pound bag of Sun Warrior vanilla protein powder. I used half a scoop in an unpictured green smoothie and I definitely liked it more than other protein smoothies/shakes I’ve had. You can still tell it’s protein powder, but it tastes so much better. I’m planning to stir it into some oatmeal tomorrow.

The second package came from a land called Canada and contained 10 Classic Glo Bars!

I’m embarrassed to say how many of these I have eaten since Thursday. I need to start rationing them.

Today I had the opportunity to go to the farmers’ market I went to last weekend again – this time with my dad.

It took us forever to get into the parking area because there was also a high school cross country invitational taking place across from the market. So. Many. Children. Well, high school children. Was I ever that young?

Once we were there, we didn’t stay as long as last weekend but we still got some wonderful food. More baguette, more vegetables, more cheese. We also got some apple cinnamon waffles and maple nut granola. After a trip to Starbucks to caffeinate me (it was early for me), we returned home where I incorporated the waffles and the granola into one of the best breakfasts I’ve had in a long time.

pronounceable ingredients!

Crumbled the waffle and sprinkled the granloa into a bowl of plain Greek yogurt sweetened with a shake of cinnamon.

This was seriously the best combination ever. The chewiness of the waffle, the crunchiness of the granola, the slight tanginess of the yogurt. Perfection.

I kept it local for lunch, too.

Lunch star #1

Best. Idea. Ever. Lunch star #2

paired with my beloved baguette

I could eat this by the spoonful. It would be worth the inevitable stomachache

It took me forever to write this post. I took several breaks to walk the dog, lie down for a bit to get rid of a headache, and eat dinner (full of farmers’ market produce!).

Tomorrow is my last day of summer before fall semester starts. I have all of my books ready. I’m not sure I am, though.

It’s going to be so strange walking around a campus where I don’t know very many people – kind of like freshman year all over again, I guess. I know this is the best thing for me right now, and even though it will take me longer to graduate, I am glad I have an opportunity that many people do not: to go to college. Education is at the root of everything and, like good food, it’s easy to sometimes forget how lucky we are if we have access to it.

I don’t mean to rub my luck in anyone’s face, but I am so thankful to have the opportunity to start over, in a sense. It’s such a relief after the year I had last year, and while I’m certain this year is going to be very different, it will also be (I hope) much better.

</sappy spiel> I don’t know when my next post will be, but I’m hoping to not be too bogged down by work yet to be able to post again within the next few days.

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