Monday, October 13, 2008

From scratch...

Last week was packed with item after item to blog about -- so jammed packed I'm not exactly sure where to begin. Let's start with some basics in the world o'nutrition news.
Aside from the economy tanking last week, food news covered the papers. Check out this intriguing article in last week's NY Times titled, "In Bad Economic Times, Are People Healthier?" You probably wouldn't normally link better eating habits to a clamp down on your wallet, but the article cites that this year in particular, tough times and scrimping may actually do a body some good. A market research firm reported last May that 53 percent of consumers were cooking more from scratch at home than they did 6 months beforehand, thanks to rising food costs and cutting back on extraneous expenses like dining out at restaurants. Rising healthcare costs aside, cooking more from scratch has the potential to significantly impact our health and what foods are appearing on our plates. (Hopefully that translates to a better balanced of fruits and vegetables, lean protein sources and whole grains). We know that real food has a much greater "bang for your buck" (both nutritionally and literally) than anything boxed, bagged, processed, or wrapped in plastic -- and usually taste better too. Let's start putting that concept into practice. Good quality, healthy food doesn't have to be exhorbitant. A pound of chicken breasts, 4 potatoes and a head of broccoli will cost you an average of $10-14 and feed 4 people v. your $5 frozen dinner that just feeds one and often leaves you rumaging through your barren refrigerator hungry for more.
Just something to consider. Convenience is obviously another topic to tackle entirely, but I'm sticking to basics for now. How has our current economic state affected you and what you are or are not eating (or spending on food)? What's in your grocery cart these days? Personally, I've been hitting up the farmers market more than ever and am really trying to curb how often I eat out during the week -- a 'quick bite' with a friend or colleague can easily add up to $40-50 in this city...multiple times a week! I'm also making an effort to actually EAT my leftovers -- yes, I'm definitely guilty of making extra and dumping it after a few days of sitting pretty in the fridge. Put it in the freezer if you can't stand looking it for the 3rd or 4th time in a row...magic, you've automatically got healthy convenience food at a much lower cost!
Next up on the blogging radar later in the week: The New York Wine & Food Festival that occurred in NYC this past weekend, welcoming celebrity chefs and culinary speakers from around the world. I was lucky enough to attend two fantastic talks over the weekend. More on my experience hearing the mother of the organic food movement, Alice Waters and Nigella Lawson, in all her Brit gastro-porn greatness, to come. To accompany the festival weekend, the Times dedicated this Sunday's magazine entirely to the topic of food (see pic above)...everything from food policy issues, taking food seriously, locavorism and a soon-to-be-released documentary, Food Inc., that aims to raise social consciousness -- though it might seriously make you sick to your stomach or make you think twice where your poultry and beef is coming from in the process. I'd much rather go with the latter and pray it doesn't leave me with nightmares (I have no love for horror movies).

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