Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Three Things

People who know me well laugh when they see email from me with something like "Three Things" in the subject line.

They laugh because they know I wrote that to help me remember to get to everything I wanted to share in the email.  I am famously easy to self-sidetrack.

They laugh because they know I probably started out with "One Thing" in the subject line and then had to revise it a couple of times as I remembered more things I wanted needed to tell them.

This enumeration technique works fairly well for emails so I figured to try it here and we'll see if I can stay on track for what I want to do with this post.  

Three things in particular caught my eye today.  One is a some very good news I wanted to share, one is a bit of wisdom that helped me a great deal, and the last is an idea I want to recommend to you whole heartedly.

First the good news.  The Pundits of Pudge have revised how much weight the typical adult gains during the holidays.
Estimates currently are that we typically gain only about one pound (down from seven!) from our tendency to overeat during the holiday season.  Before you head to the refrigerator with a spoon to grab the CoolWhip container and celebrate, please don't forget that is one pound over and above the pound we all supposedly gain just by staying alive year to year. 

Unless you work to maintain rather than gain over the holidays, you can count on two extra pounds added on to your baseline weight for every year you survive.  

You do the math.  If you are planning on escaping an untimely (defined:before I turn 85 and subject to revision when I turn 83) death, that is two pounds for every year between whatever age you are now and when you turn 85.  

For me that is a projected additional 60 pounds.  While I may not be totally grossed out by the way I look now,  I cannot for the life of me imagine how I will manage to drag around gracefully carry another 60 pounds.  Not unless I grow another 5 or 6 inches.  And what are the odds of that?

OK.  Still.  One pound down from seven.  Very good news! Note to self - work on maintaining without gaining.  Check! Next up - a bit of real weight wisdom to share with you.  

The first time I heard this idea it made no sense to me at all.  The 4th, 5th and 392nd times I heard it mentioned, I began to pay attention to the cues my own body sends me and the light finally clicked ON.
Nutritionists maintain our bodies, like toddlers, often do not distinguish well between "hungry" and "thirsty". I suppose that is where the conventional advice of drinking a full glass of water before a meal comes from.  It is not so much that the water fills you up (not something I have noticed happening, honestly) as it is that your body may send you a signal that you are dehydrated and you may misinterpret by heading to the pantry for oh, say, I don't know, some potato chips(hypothetically).   

Throw that kind of a miscue in with a glass of wine at a holiday party, and it is easy to see how over indulging results.  The wine stimulates your appetite,  you get dehydrated to boot, and blammo, before you know what's happening there are two kinds of adorable cookies on your platewhere that pile of dry carrot sticks you headed to the buffet to get in the first place were supposed to be.  

Know yourself.If there is any chance at all that your body might be telling you "I'm thirsty!" rather than "I know you just ate a full meal but I am still hungry!", try a glass of water before you eat anything else after a full meal.  If after you are hydrated you still feel hungry, deal with it then, no harm done.

OK.  Good news, wisdom, check and double check.  Now for that idea I want to enthusiastically endorse.  

Puttering around the interweb today I saw a bit on the Gaiam Blog that caught my eye. Entitled "Be the First On Your Block To Get A Farmer!" by Leslie Garrett, the bottom line is that the very best thing you can do to help yourself and your family to eat healthier is to know who is growing your food and how they are going about it.    

This idea is not entirely new - Pollan advocates this in his own way as does Barbara Kingsolver and multiple others as part of the growing Eat Local/Eat Responsible movement.  But "Get Your Own Farmer" is such a succinct way to sum up what it is that we all need to try to do that I couldn't resist.  

Garrett orders most of her food from a local farmer.  "Her" farmer.  There are various ways to duplicate that effort. Subscribing to CSA basketoutfits like our own area's Tecolote Farm, using online organic delivery services like Greenling, shopping the farmer's market before hitting the chain grocer's are all great ways to get your own farmer.  

I would add trying to Be Your Own Farmer - growing as much of your own food in a garden as you can, will be doubly satisfying.  Healthy, too.Try as I might, I have never managed to grow anything fattening in my garden.  It just doesn't work that way.   

Here in Austin we are incredibly fortunate to have a fantastic food co-op, Wheatsville, where you can have a whole dedicated crew of produce, meat and floor stock buyers out there working tirelessly to source the best local, organic, sustainable and responsible products to fill your shopping basket week to week.  Is there a food coop in your community?  Check it out.  

If we are what we eat, then don't you want to be organic, local, and sustainable?  Well of course you do.  Think about ways to put "Get My Own Farmer" high on your Christmas Wish List this year.

Postscript:  There was going to be a fourth thing.  I was going to indulge in a mini-rant around the idea of buying an outfit that is too small to be currently worn and have that hanging in the closet as supposed incentive to eat less and lose weight.  

In the current economic climate that really feels counterproductive.  However, after some thought I decided if I want to point fingers at anybody else's closet I best weed out the clothes I never wear and already have hanging in my own closet first.  

So I will channel the energy otherwise spent on scoldy-typing and redirect that to cleaning out my closet.  Afterwards I may yet return to that rant, filled with self righteous snarkiness, but more likely I will be exhausted and opt for taking a nap.  You can thank me later.  Onward!!


PassivePastry said...

this is smart.
i'm not sure it will work for me while studying.
i'm one of those "you can eat this giant candy bar right after you memorize 10 art slides"...

which is where i am now, rewarding myself with blog viewing and pasta salad while i read about how NOT to overeat. :)

Flapjacks said...

i gain weight by looking at food. therefore, i'm not concerned or preoccupied with my weight. as long as i keep my round shape, i'm cool.

farmers are cool. grocers are cool, too...

TexasDeb said...

I reward myself with food all the time. Which is supposedly not smart - food is for when you are hungry, blah blah....

I get caught because if I like the way a food tastes, I will keep eating until it thunders or I run out, whichever comes first.

Flapper, reaching 7 feet of height as you do the only way you are gonna be round is with that Halloween costume of yours on.

And yeah. Grocers are very very cool.