Wednesday, March 29, 2006


In which you become aware of my nutritional bankruptcy

If you've been around for a while, you know about my failed love affair with Weight Watchers. You know about my tepid relationship with the gym. You know about my obsession with doughnuts.

You ought to be especially proud of me today, then. It's spring, and I've been trying to improve a few of my worst habits. Today - I packed my lunch. And not only did I pack my lunch, but I packed a healthy lunch. Impressive, no?

I've got a flax-seed roll with a slice of emmental cheese, and a little baggie full of baby carrots and grape tomatoes, and an even smaller baggie of almonds. And since I've been going through the motions of educating myself about nutrition (Lord knows, if I left it up to the rest of the family, we'd be dead within the week) I thought I'd share my accrued wisdom on the subject. Try not to laugh. Y'all probably know this stuff already, but I got nothing else to talk about anyway. And I don't know much, so at least it won't take long.

For instance, flax seed bread. I knew this was high in omega 3 oil, which is the same thing that makes salmon and other fish so healthy, so for some reason I expected the bread to have a fishy or bitter taste, somewhere between poppy seeds and caraway (yuck) seeds. But these buns are yummy! And healthy, too. I have a serious carb thing going on, so whole grain breads are my new best friends.

About those baby carrots... am I the last person to notice that the package says 'baby cut carrots'? I saw a thing on kids' TV the other day (look! More benefits of TV!) and they showed how these are just ordinary carrots, shaved down to baby carrot size. Those sneaky farmers! It hasn't stopped me from buying them, but at least I don't feel guilty for eating the babies anymore, secure in the knowledge that I'm scarfing carrots who have lived a long and productive life.

And finally, your edification via my lunch concludes with this segue into organic produce courtesy of my organic grape tomatoes. Do you buy organic produce? I try to shop those aisles of the grocery store first and pick up whatever won't blow the budget, but the organic produce at my local Loblaws is usually not only twice the price but looks like it was left over from last year. Yes, I know, the whole point of the organic thing is to remove the preservatives and whatnot, but a lifetime of expecting peppers to be plump and shiny is hard to overcome in the face of what looks mealy and anemic.

There was an article in Consumer Reports earlier this year about organic products, and it said that certain foods like asparagus, avocados, bananas, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet corn, kiwi, mangos, onions, papaya, pineapples and sweet peas weren't even worth the splurge to buy organic. The two things we almost always bought in the organic aisle were bananas and avocados, so that alone has saved me a few dollars each week. A friend of mine who has a diploma in holistic nutrition says that grapes and raisins are one of the worst foods for pesticides, so we always buy organic raisins too.

See how much stuff I can cram into one brown paper bag reusable nylon lunch tote? So, got anything to share with the class? Educate us in your latest nutritional adventures - are you reducing your sodium, watching fat content, going vegan? What's in your lunch box?