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Everything posted by llc45

  1. I have not have time to read thru this entire thread so it may have been said before. But eating mostly vegetarian certainly goes along way to dealing with the health and environmental issues. That is the way my family eats. While we can't seem to go completely vegetarian, we eat very little meat. From an ethical perspective, I have been striving to buy the meat we eat from local farms. This also greatly reduces the health and environmental impacts from eating meat. Unfortunately, it takes more time to buy locally sourced meats and it certainly is more expensive. I try to overcome my miserly ways by realizing that the higher cost for the meat is more than offset by how little meat we eat. It is a weekly battle with my ingrained frugal nature.
  2. Wow - this has been a great blog. I was busy and had to read it in two big chunks rather than follow along. Now I am inspired to revisit your city - it's been way too long and I wasn't so into food when I went 20+ yrs ago. Thank you so much.
  3. I made Mama's meatballs after he gave the recipe on some show I watched. My go to recipe was far better!
  4. what a great way to approach a low carb diet. Sounds like you found a very manageable way to stay with it. Loving your blog so far!
  5. Hi soba - I laughted when I saw this because I automatically chose the zuni cafe cookbook - I have wanted this for a long time but never purchased. then I realized I have Marcella's cookbook, one of Madhur Jaffrey's books (world vegetarian, and many other vegetarian books), yet the one I want and gravitated to when I first read this is the one I don't have! Maybe I should just break down and buy it already! Even though I never post my cooking on egullet (not a big fan of taking or transferring pictures), I always love seeing your posts on the dinner thread. Your cooking style is much like mine, lots of vegetarian even though we do eat meat. The colors of your dishes are spectacular and very artistic. Count me as another that is jealous of the NYC green market. I am from western jersey and always go when I am in the downtown area. Here in NJ, our farmers markets don't start until the end of June.
  6. Mine arrived while I was away on vacation last week so I had it rerouted to friends house. Just picked it up today and cant' wait to give it a trial run!
  7. As I have posted somewhere on egullet before (don't ask me where ), we are another family that can vouch for the low carb method. Without counting calories or following any specific diet plan (e.g. WW), my husband lost about 40 lbs in 5 months by switching to low carb. This was after he has been exercising regularly and really watching what he ate for about 5 years. He went from borderline diabetic and high Blood pressure to normal in the first 2 months. We started out very strict (for a different health reason in our family). No grains. We quickly added brown rice and other grains (quinoa, wheat berries, steel cut oats). Our best discovery was Dreamfield pasta, made for diabetics - it looks and tastes like white pasta but you absorb very few carbs. We really did not care for whole grain pasta that much. My husband switched from cereal to greek yogurt and berries in the morning and from sandwiches to salads and protein for lunch. He has not put any weight back on in the last year even thought we now are not as strict. We eat out at least once a week during which we don't follow diet at all, and might cook one or two meals a week at home the same way. My husband cut out beer during the weight loss period and switched to gin and tonics. Now he drinks beer about half the time. We try to eat a lot of veggies with some protein at each meal and have healthy low carb snacks (e.g. hummus and veggies, olives, nuts, etc) on hand. We do watch fats. We eat a lot of olive oil but try to use other fats sparingly. I love butter for flavor but try to use less or use mostly olive oil with a little butter. While I didn't really need to lose weight, I have come to love this way of eating because I eat really healthy this way but don't ever feel hungry. When we go to friend's houses or eat out, I eat whatever. It seems that as long as you follow low carb most of the time, you don't have to be overly careful. Our biggest downfall is liquid calories .I used to eat cereal or toast for breakfast and then be starving by lunch time and would pigout. It's just changed the way I eat. For the first time ever, I was turned off when I raided my daughter's easter basket for robin's eggs (malted milk balls) - my go to candy at this holiday. I now pretty much only eat dark chocolate for sweet cravings.
  8. Tea is pretty much my beverage of choice and when I have a really good tea (made by someone else), I love it. But rarely was I taking the time to brew a pot of tea for myself because I feel that it's too much of a hassle. Noone else drinks it but me, then I have to get out the pot, clean it, etc. Ditto with teaballs for indivicual teas, even though it's easy, I manage to fall back to bags (although generally something better than Lipton). Basically, I love and aprecicate good tea but am lazy. What finally got me to pretty much convert full time to loose leaf teas (of which I have many that were rarely getting used) was to buy empty bags than can be filled. Now I prefill some for work weekly. While a love to brew a pot when I have company besides me that appreciates tea, the bags have been my program to start enjoying better tea on a daily basis.
  9. I finally emailed Blendtec yesterday to inquire about shipment. This strategy apparently worked because they emailed me right back informing me that it was being shipped out. Since I am leaving for vacation tomorrow, can someone tell me how they are shipping them (eg fedex?) so I can advise my neighbor to keep a lookout? I can't wait to start using it!
  10. That's great - another shout out to your wife. You can't miss out on opportunities like this, glad she talked you into it.
  11. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
  12. Thanks, feel a little better then. That is same time and color I ordered. I'll just have to try and be patient!
  13. Am I the only one who still hasn't got their shipment yet? Wondering whether I should follow up. Can't wait to start blending!
  14. With a few exceptions, we pretty much only eat brown rice. I was buying organic brown rice in large quantity from Costco but they stopped carrying it. I love Massa organic brown rice and frequently order that in bulk as our basic rice. For jasmine and basmati, still prefer white. I love the Kashi multigrain packs, brown rice with other grains (I think options are 7 or 9) incorporated.
  15. Wow - couldn't stay awake last night. Just finished watching it and agree with everyone else, that will be hard to beat. Plus, I am so happy Carla got fan favorite!
  16. Ahhhh - that explains it. I have been pretty much a red wine drinker since my college days - never did develop a taste for beer. Since hitting my 40s, I have felt a noticable difference in the morning. Many of my friends of the same vintage have reported similar changes. At one friend's suggestion, I switched over to cocktails recently and no more hangovers! I still miss my wine and switch back on occasion but I'm having fun learning how to make some drinks now. I've learned to make a mean margarita and we are slowly buying more top shelf liquors as the old swill that we used for occasional mixers runs out.
  17. Thanks so much for a wonderful blog. I too was in awe of the crawfish hole. Never would have guessed. You have put New Orleans on my list of must get back to in the two years list. Please rest now - I can't believe how much you did this week!
  18. Good article on future of agriculture and things that I think we should be incentivizing: http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2011-03-07/future-organic-its-more-organic
  19. Well, sure, that was my point. Irrigation and groundwater depletion are serious issues in the plains states but not in other parts of the country. Unless you are saying that non-irrigated crops also deplete groundwater... It's also a bit disingenuous to say most corn is not being used as food. Only 25-30% is being used for ethanol and feed for animals is still food (indirectly). It's true that organic grain farms are a small percentage of overall acreage, but they do exist. Where else is Horizon getting the feed for their gigantic organic dairy operations? I'm not here to defend grain (or any other crop) subsidies - I think that they should all be abolished. It's just that if you are trying to convince people and your talking points are littered with over generalizations and half truths, you are not likely to be taken seriously. We'll have to respectfully disagree on this issue. this is a very complex,mulit-issue discussion that is outside the realm of this forum. I could provide statistics that ground water depletion is an issue in many areas of the country, not just the plain states, and not even just the US for that matter. There is a big concern that water is going to be the new oil in terms of scarcity, both in terms of depletion and degradation of quality. Look at what is happening in Japan. We need to protect our resources. This is not a generalization. We also disagree on calling animal feed "food". I leave that argument to Michael Pollen, he has already made this point better than I ever could. There is much research showing how energy and water intensive GMO corn is, to the point where the US changed it's position on using ethanol as a substitute for gasoline. I wasn't speaking about anything but this specific issue - not about non-irrigated crops nor about the small percentage of organic farms. Quite the opposite, I am for farms that find ways to not irrigate or use irrigation techniques that minimize wasting water. Love organic farms. The high energy and high water usage GMO corn is same corn being used as cheap animal feed and high fructose corn syrup. My original point stands, if we can't get rid of subsidies because the farm lobby is too strong, let's try to at least change the policy to promote the long term sustainability of farmland in the US. With respect to protecting ground water, it's just not dewatering the aquifer. I was also speaking to using chemicals that persist for long periods of time. We need to find ways to protect our drinking water supplies for generations to come. I think it's time to start thinking outside the box!
  20. Wow - this blog is great. Either you have a tremedous amount of energy or you are going to be very tired at the end of this week .
  21. Generalizations are a dangerous thing... I grew up on a family farm in Indiana and my father still grows corn and soybeans on about 900 acres of land which is actually quite a bit larger than average for the state (~250 acres), which I suppose you would consider a factory farm as I believe you are using it as synonym for grain monoculture. Let's start with the easiest assumption to shatter: water usage. Very little makes me as angry than some statistic thrown out about how much water an acre of corn needs. It is NOT relevant. What is relevant and what most people are concerned with is the amount of water used for irrigation. You see, in many parts of the country it rains regularly and farmers do not irrigate their crops. In Indiana, the only people who irrigate are the seed corn companies which means that there is no wholesale depletion of ground water. Now onto the hardest one, pesticides/fertilizers. Most grain farmers use pesticides and fertilizers as a matter of course - my father certainly does, but there are organic farmers who farm large amounts of land without using artificial pesticides and fertilizers. It certainly can be done - there is nothing about grain monoculture that would prevents farmers from doing so. I have no statistics on energy usage to back up a claim either way, but I am curious why you think that a large field planted all at once would require more energy than a small scale operation. There are efficiencies to planting and harvesting on a large scale. If anyone has any insight into this, I would be eager to know. All this is based on my experience in one state (#5 corn producer and #4 soybean producer in US), but I am well aware that commodity crops grown in plains states tend to have different effects - much larger farm size (thousands of acres) and much higher ground water usage. My point is simply that not all commodity farms are the same and many of the things that they are attacked about do not apply to many of them. I don't want to be too technical or disparage farmers. but most of the subsidies in the US go to large monoculture farmers that are energy and water intensive. With respect to water, I have worked as a hydrogeologist for the last 25 years. Hence, a lot of my current research (now that I decided to go back to school again for some crazy reason) relates to sustainability of natural resources and lots of time focused on water supply issues. The use of genetically modified corn, which pretty much all of the factory farms use, does require large amounts of water. The Ogallala Aquifer, a large water supply that underlies eight states from Texas to South Dakota, supplies about 30% of the water used for irrigation to these farms. There is much data to show that water levels are being depleted by growing massive amounts of subsidized corn, most of which is not even being used as food. There is similar data on energy and chemical use. There are very few large farms that are organic, or that don't rely on GMO seed from Monsanto. Older food corn varities did not yield as much, but the large diversity of corn types could grow with less water, energy and chemicals. This is OK if we are just growing it for food. Now most of the corn can not even be used as food for humans with processing. We are using it to produce cheap animal feed and ethanol. Getting back to the topic of this thread, my argument would be to focus subsidies towards farmers to promote innovative techniques that promote the long term sustainability of food in the US. How can we maximize yields with the least use of water, chemicals, and energy AND grow high quality real food. In my opinion, if we are going to subsidize, let's use the subsidies to change US agricultural practices for the long term sustainability of our food supply. I remember early in my career getting sent to Puerto Rico to work on a ground water contamination case at a pharmaceutical company. Some of these plants had moved out of the states to avoid recent ground water regulations. As we were putting in wells on top of a hill chasing the "plume" for several months, we could all see where the pollution was going - down hill to all of the pineapple fields owned by a big multinational company. This was a really contaminated site and I did not eat pineapple for a long time after that. I think we need to grow a lot more of our high quality food in the US and protect our highest value farmland by not depleting the aquifer and using lots of chemicals. It's not going to be nearly as valuable in the future if we keep going with the subsidies as they stand today.
  22. Here is an article with interesting statistics: http://www.grist.org/article/2010-03-25-corn-ethanol-meat-hfcs To me, one of the most important points is how most of the prime farmland is now being used to grow corn and soybeans because that is what gets the most subsidies. This valuable land is being degraded rather than protected for high quality crops. As of 2009, look how little high quality crops are being produced in the US compared to subsidized crops, many of which are not being used for food.
  23. I agree with you whold heartedly. I felt that Antonia got put at such a disacvantage have to cook Morimoto's last supper, especially at this point in the competition. It made me feel that the challenge was made fair at the end and that Mike wasn't given the upperhand at such a crucial time.
  24. As a farmer, do you know what crops currently are eligible for subsidies? I hear of them for corn and cotton, but neither of those really count as food. No one eats field corn, except in derivative products. And these crops are produced in quantities larger than we need so they get exported at the subsidized prices, which destabilizes farmers in other countries. But for our own national food interests, are there food-related subsidies for things like broccoli, carrots, potatoes, oranges, etc? That's the argument I made (quoted above) in a recent paper I wrote for my master's program. The subsidies are harming US farmland by depleting ground water supplies, adding chemicals, etc. We need to protect our farmland for long term national security, a reason to stop subsidizing big corn and soybean producers. From a policy standpoint, the agricultural lobbies are probably too strong to stop subsidizies (George Bush couldn't even do it). If we can't get rid of subsidies, they should be diverted to promote innovative farming practices that really do protect our long term national security as well as begin to reverse the health consequences (and costs) associated with the current subsidy program.
  25. Yes, the farm subsidies started to ensure the safety of the American food crop, minimize the risks to Americans that farmers would leave their land during hard economic times. Unfortunately, most of our subsidies are now going to large factory farms to produce things like corn that end up in ethanol, HFCS sweetened products, and processed foods. These factory farms require huge amounts of energy, water, and pesticides/fertilizers to grow their crops. These practices are not sustainable and will lead to loss of biodiversity, depletion of water supplies, etc. Company's like Tyson are really getting the subsidies by getting ridiculouly cheap corn to feed livestock on their factory farms. The price of factory farmed meat and the resulting products are subsidized by the US taxpayer. Some may argue that this is a good thing, we are getting food cheap. Not only meat, but lots of things sweetened with HFCS. However, obesity, diabetes and other health problems are significantly on the rise. These health costs and loss of productivity is also being absorbed by the US taxpayer. In order to guarentee the long term sustainability of our food supply, arguments could be made for keeping subsidies that promote making changes to the current practices. Here are some ideas discussed in a recent paper I wrote: • Subsidies should be decoupled from production so that farmers are not rewarded from planting more corn to compensate for lower prices. • Subsidies should focus on crops of high quality value such as vegetables, fruits, and nuts. The current subsidies should be phased out over time in favor of subsidizing farmers that will promote the supply of products that will improve the state of health in the US. • Development of a system that provides various incentives based on the degree that a farm promotes the long term sustainability of US agriculture. Some suggestions include: (1) ranking farms based on their size to incentivize small farms and penalize monoculture farms, (2) going organic, (3) reducing the use of agrochemicals, antibiotics, and genetically modified seeds, (4) adopting practices that stop the degradation of prime farmland(5) awards for farms that are truly innovative and advance sustainable farming practices, (6) successfully reduce water and energy usage, (7) reward farms that sell locally and penalize farms that require extensive transportation to get products to market, (8) provide incentives to promote environmental stewardship, and (9) promote sustainable beef and poultry farming.
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