Saturday, March 26, 2011

What's on your plate?

Slow Food USA turned me on to a documentary/project I hadn't heard about - What's on Your Plate? It's about "kids and food politics." A subject very important to me.

I was thrilled to find it available for streaming via Netflix. After spending 30 seconds adding it to our instant queue - okay, maybe a minute, the hubby and I watched it. It follows two young girls over the course of a year "as they explore their place in the food chain." They talk about where the food they eat comes from and why, including school lunches. They visit local farms and talk with the farmers, they visit farmers' markets, participate in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and talk to city leaders. Also, one of the girls has high cholesterol, due to genetics not diet, and you get to follow her on a few doctor visits to monitor her condition. I thoroughly enjoyed this film. It wasn't as heavy as Food, Inc. or Food Matters (although everyone should watch these films) but What's on Your Plate? covers some of the same issues and left me thinking just as much as the others did.

I get so emotional about this subject, especially after watching a film or reading an article about it. I feel equally inspired as I do frustrated. I picked the image for this post because it helps illustrate my frustration. No matter how much info is out there on food companies, factory meat, genetically modified food, imported produce (that are also grown and available locally), processed food and the like, most people continue to eat poorly and/or stay uneducated about real food. I'm not saying everyone is consciously deciding to ignore the subject (although some definitely are) but there is a huge disconnect that baffles me. I know people that simply never give what they eat a second thought. I know people that do think about it but give in to convenience anyway. I know people who don't buy at farmers' markets because it can be more expensive (very well in fact, that used to be me!) And I know a bunch more people with a whole lot of excuses.

Believe me my friends, I feel you. Again, that is why I started Medium Food Mama. But there is a happy medium out there. I'm on the journey and it's my cause. As hard as food politics and big industry make it on us and the small producers, we need to get educated, make food a priority, care what we put in our bodies and do our part to reduce the food industry's outrageous carbon footprint. This is serious stuff everyone. Our bodies suffer and our environment suffer. Two essential things to live. And on that note, do me a favor, take a moment today to think about what small step you can do today to improve what you eat, what you buy and/or where you buy.

Monday, March 14, 2011

An alternative to juice

I read a spot on Weelicious recently that inspired me to brew some herbal tea for the kids. I'm a coffee drinker but I do enjoy a good cup of tea once in a while and unsweetened iced tea is what I drink with lunch often times. But it wasn't until I read the post on Weelicious did I think of tea as a beverage for the kids.

I wish I would have thought of this sooner because it makes sense. But when I mention it to people, I almost always get a perplexed look. I think a lot of us hear "tea" and immediately think "caffeine." And why would I be giving my kids caffeine? Understandable thought process but it's not the case. There is a world of herbal teas that are made up of simple ingredients and are caffeine free.

Tazo Passion Tea ingredients: Hibiscus Flowers, Natural Tropical Flavors, Citric Acid, Orange Peel, Licorice Root, Cinnamon, Rose Hips, Lemongrass and Fruit Juice Extract (Color).

Decent stuff and it tastes great too... to me anyway! When I introduced it to my boys, the tea got mixed reviews.  My (almost) four-year-old did not like it, in place of his apple juice anyway. He said it tasted like water not juice. Can't argue with that as it is just flavored water. Having had apple juice for a couple of years, albeit cut with water, I knew it would be a challenge to convert him. My toddler on the other hand liked it. I wasn't surprised since the little guy has only had breast milk, water and a little cow's milk. But like anything new, if I think it's worth it, I'll just continue to make it and offer it.

If you've been looking for an alternative to juice, I encourage you to give herbal tea a try. There are lots of flavors and brands available. As always, be sure to read the ingredient lists to avoid artificial ingredients and unnecessary additives.