Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The NY Times and Bittman meets cutting back meat

Jed blogged about cutting back on meat. Like him I don't eat red meat. Unfortunately I didn't find Mark Bittman's article "Putting Meat back in its place" to be at all helpful for my needs though others may find it useful. Unlike Jed, I have seen plenty of articles that address cutting back on meat or becoming more vegetarian while on briefly touching on the reasons. Jed says the reasons aren't addressed, but they are briefly mentioned. The vegetarian and sustainable and slow food movements are quite diverse. What is relatively rare about this article is it's in the NY Times. We have arrived.

I don't remember if Jed was a vegetarian, but I was actually an ovo vegetarian and a little pesco for four years. I gave it up because some of my red blood cells are smaller than others, a Burmese variation of Thalassemia (I tested negative for the known Thalassemia genes, but my blood cells are clinically different) and I became anemic. It is possible to get all one's protein and iron from a vegetarian meal, but it's harder and frankly I didn't always have time.

One of the ways Bittman's article didn't help is that living in Mountain View, I do eat out at a lot of Asian restaurants. I dunno where he eats where the food doesn't revolve around meat. It's not in any down home Asian restaurant I know. I can't help but think he only eats in fusion Asian restaurants.

Also his tips are based on the premise how to stop eating a meal that revolves around meat. Because I was a vegetarian, my life doesn't revolve around meat. I feel satisfied with a meal that contains entirely vegetarian ingredients. For example one of my favorite lunches is Trader Joe's Eggplant Parmesan. I also typically eat a vegetarian breakfast, though more for convenience. However at some point I need to eat a meal with a complete protein source and iron. I find most types of beans difficult to digest, except for soy. I really like soy if prepared properly but so many people can't cook tofu properly and it tests rubbery and horrid. So that leaves chicken and pork for me.

I focus more on I buy food on buying from the farmers' market if I can and organic. I have not done the calculations of the amount of waste and pollution the pork we buy from the farmers' market generates versus a factory farmed vegetable from Safeway. I do also eat out and the food probably comes from sources I would not buy from. But as Bittman says it's about creating a lifestyle you can maintain.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

My daughter's first long summer and she doesn't want to go to camp

My daughter is "graduating" from Kindergarten on Wednesday and so will begin her first official summer. Sure she's had summer breaks in preschool, but I always signed her up for summer preschool. Before any type of school, she simply grew as the seasons passed and I needed to put her in slightly different clothes. For the first time, she has three months of no school aka summer.

My daughter has opted only to sign up for swim lessons half an hour a week for the entire summer, three days of camp at Happy Hollow and one week of gym camp. So far she's refused repeated offers of other camps and classes and the bay area offers a ton. I'm not sure whether to be pleased that she recognizes that acres of free time shrink smaller and smaller as one ages until they're reduced to a precious commodity, or that she simply can't comprehend how long a (relatively) hot summer can be. Her younger brother will be attending summer preschool part of the time, so it will be just me and her for some of the day.

On the other hand, my parents didn't provide me, the eldest of three with much summer activities except for Rainbow Summer, a camp held in the blazing hot 100 degree heat of the park. I fainted once from heat exhaustion and went back again the next day. At the time, I didn't appreciate it. And I'm sure from my mom's point of view, she heard constant cries of "I'm bored" But I did learn how to entertain myself for hours at a time. I played countless board games with my brother and read a lot.

The kids have a library within walking distance. Plus we have a Wii, a Tivo and a bookshelf of DVDs. I swore I wouldn't be one of those parents who bought a ton of DVDs and games for their kids, but somehow each slowly acreted. Okay Costco only sells them in bundles, but otherwise I'm not sure where all they came from.

Despite their wealth of toys, I still see the kids play the same games I used to like crawling around in boxes and making forts from blankets. And whoever claimed that kids are nature deprived hasn't seen my kids' rock and leaf collections that track dirt over the house.

Still, I wonder if this summer, I'll hear "I'm bored" whined just once too often and become one of those parents desperate to sign their kid up for a summer camp, any summer camp. I hope not, but I'll let you know.