Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Eating Omily: Ascending the Food Pyramid to Bring Down My Stone Tablet Plate

I distinctly recall being little enough that we lived in our old house, and I more or less lived in the area of the basement given over to my play house: carpeted with remnants, filled to the brim with toy furniture, and an orphanage's worth of dolls. I didn't realize at the time what a lucky kid I was...that play area amounted to about 300 square feet, never mind the permanently set up school area behind it that was a good 100 square feet at least. I had some of the best educated stuffed animals in the tri-state area, although their education may not have been entirely accurate...Good Lord, I know people living in apartments barely that big!

But I'm digressing big time. Taped up to the side of the adorable wooden pantry where I kept my plastic dishes and silverware, and the plastic pretend cake set complete with little changeable decorations and glow-in-the-dark candles...sigh...was a picture of the current food pyramid. My focus as an ankle-biter was on that top little triangle mysteriously scattered with little dots and triangles. What the hell was I not supposed to eat?? The writing on the side said sweets, and fats. So why wasn't there a slice of cake or a donut visually represented? And what about that bottom layer? I knew for a fact I ate no where near that much bread everyday!
I may have been precocious...at least my reading level was always several grades ahead of the rest of my education, but my point is that I was a little kid who ate what my parents served me and thought chocolate cake for breakfast would be pretty awesome, and I thought the food pyramid was pretty stupid: difficult to understand, and not practical to follow.

A few iterations have come and gone, notably this model, which was pinned to the wall in my cafeteria from middle school on. It attempts to emphasize all things in moderation and the importance of exercise, but, you know, pretty much makes no sense.
And now we've done away with that Egyption-inspired artifact all together. What we've got now is: My Plate.
So if you want to know about exercise you're just going to have to go to the website, you guys!

One of my favourite local-eating cheats that my husband and I partake in once the weather turns is to buy a pouch of fondue at Trader Joe's. It's not a total cheat, because we chop up our supply of local fruits, veggies, and breads for dippers, although we do always buy some cured Italian meat to dip, too, which is totally not local. So I piled the dippers high on a big plate, and carried in the fondue, to which I had added sauteed garlic and powdered ginger to help ward off the tickly-snotty feeling I had noticed in my nose the other day, and plunked these things down for our dinner, and my husband got so excited. He insisted on taking a picture. Here it is.
OMG, Epic Win! We were eating My Plate! Except, you know, they were recommending something like a cup of reduced-fat milk, not a GIANT STEAMING VAT OF MELTED CHEESE!!!! But, close enough. We also had figs, and pickled chili peppers for dipping, and some pumpkin ale. So finally, after something like 20-years of food pyramid failure, not only has the government managed to produce something that makes sense in terms of what you should eat, but we've managed to follow it. My six-year-old self would be so proud. She also wouldn't touch that icky cured beef shoulder...but what does she know??

How do you do with following the food pyramid my plate? Eating healthy is probably still an instinct, but it gets shouted down pretty effectively by clever marketing and the sheer quantity of shit food available to us everyday. Most of us could use a refresher as to what's good for our bodies in what amounts and what's not. Go to the website and do some research; you might be really shocked. Taking good care of yourself physically is a vital component of Ahimse: non-violence in Sanskrit, and perhaps the first tenant of yoga.

There's something else awesomely delicious that I'm really excited to share with you, but it's just going to have to wait. A GIANT STEAMING VAT OF MELTED CHEESE!!!! Is just too good a note to end on.

Nom.
~em

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