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May 6, 2008

Lonely Road

I'm feeling like I'm at that moment In Mister Roger's neighborhood when Mister Roger's finishes feeding the fish and visiting the land of make believe, he sits back down and sings a song of farewell. Similarly, it has come time for me to bid adieu as well.

It seems like such a long time ago when I decided to conform my life to Pollan's ideals about healthy eating. I look back at my first blog post and see a youthful me, earnestly trying to fit each and every Pollan rule into my dietary habits. Months past and I become more and more lax about what would be considered edible in Pollan's eyes, and it gets to a point (the Chinese bakery) where I am almost at odds against the health diet, inciting a mini rebellion within myself to not conform.

I have had my good weeks (like when I ate only Vietnamese sandwiches) and my bad (don't really want to talk about how many Little Caesar's pepperoni and sausage pizzas I have eaten to date), but at least I can be proud of myself for keeping the healthy eating idea alive within me. I have to admit, if it weren't for this blog, I probably wouldn't have been so diligent in trying to keep up to standards.

What's really astounded me is how much of an activist I've become. Seriously. Prior to this food craze, I didn't do anything good for the myself or for the world. After starting up on the Pollan diet, I've found my energy levels continuing to increase and my weight continuing to decrease, but most importantly, I've started doing things that the pre-Pollan me wouldn't have done. I started volunteering at a homeless shelter, working as a peer tutor, and even advocating for safer cosmetics (and I don't even use makeup). Maybe these things don't have anything to do with my change in diet, but as the saying goes, you are what you eat. I hope that the Pollan ideals that I have been consuming have been the impetus to the actions I have taken.

Lonely Road

I'm feeling like I'm at that moment In Mister Roger's neighborhood when Mister Roger's finishes feeding the fish and visiting the land of make believe, he sits back down and sings a song of farewell. Similarly, it has come time for me to bid adieu as well.

It seems like such a long time ago when I decided to conform my life to Pollan's ideals about healthy eating. I look back at my first blog post and see a youthful me, earnestly trying to fit each and every Pollan rule into my dietary habits. Months past and I become more and more lax about what would be considered edible in Pollan's eyes, and it gets to a point (the Chinese bakery) where I am almost at odds against the health diet, inciting a mini rebellion within myself to not conform.

I have had my good weeks (like when I ate only Vietnamese sandwiches) and my bad (don't really want to talk about how many Little Caesar's pepperoni and sausage pizzas I have eaten to date), but at least I can be proud of myself for keeping the healthy eating idea alive within me. I have to admit, if it weren't for this blog, I probably wouldn't have been so diligent in trying to keep up to standards.

What's really astounded me is how much I think I change the world. Seriously. Prior to this food craze, I didn't do anything good for the myself or for the world. After starting up on the Pollan diet, I've found my energy levels continuing to increase and my weight continuing to decrease, but most importantly, I've started doing things that the pre-Pollan me wouldn't have done. I started volunteering at a homeless shelter, working as a peer tutor, and even advocating for safer cosmetics (and I don't even use makeup). Maybe these things don't have anything to do with my change in diet, but as the saying goes, you are what you eat. I hope that the Pollan ideals that I have been consuming have been the impetus to the actions I have taken.

May 5, 2008

Homecoming

All this talk about Pollan made me wonder what he's up to these days. Pondering this, I went out on a search for him. Turns out he's currently a journalism professor at Berkeley, so I've got no chance of seeing him anytime soon. Oh well, I doubt Pollan's good looking in real life anyway, though I suppose he should be healthy and vibrant consuming his self-made diet. Skipping the tangible, I google-newsed his name and lo-and-behold, he had just made an appearance on the Sydney Morning Herald. That's Sydney as in Sydney, Australia dear readers. That's right. Pollan's message has traveled across seas and flipped hemispheres.

The article is called "Eat, think, and be wary", and follows the usual guidelines about Pollan's views on food and the books that he's written about it. What I found especially interesting were the accompanying pictures. One showed a birds-eye view of Pollan's vegetable garden at his California abode. Pollan is pictured in it, wearing dirty jeans and a long, green tee (haha, I get it, green for the "green movement"), merrily hoeing or racking around some tender lettuce shoots. The whole scene is so idyllic of the Pollan revolution, that is, moving from a fast-paced, fast food world back to an era of slow consumption and working for your next meal.

Pollan says, and many would agree, that one feels better about something if he labors a lot to accomplish it. That's what I really want to get out of this whole Pollan diet experience; the pleasure of eating. Part of that comes from knowing all the ingredients of my meal and feeling good about where they came. Another part comes from that internal giddiness of having made something by yourself. Above all, I just want to enjoy my food.

May 4, 2008

Not exactly apple pie

All along, I've been doing this thing to the Pollan healthy diet by twisting it to fulfill my ethnic needs. Ethnic needs? Am I trying to destroy America by smothering it in the red flag of communism and devour the world's rice supply? Not really. I just want to eat something to tastes like home. To that end, I've been hitting up the chinese bakery, Kaefer Court, on west bank a lot these days.

It's a cute, little place, barely visible to the eye but for the little window showcasing imaginary deserts. Once inside, it resembles a warmer, happier version of Starbucks, except instead of coffee highlights, it's all about the food. Behind a double-thick glass enclave and under yellow-tinted fluorescent lights set rows upon rows of baked goods from wintermelon cakes to sticky rice balls.

Everything costs around $1, so the last time I went, I grabbed four yummy items totaling $5. The owner of the place made everything from scratch so there was little chance I would be chewing on xanthum gum or red #4. Other than that, the entire affair is thoroughly UNhealthy. Even as I sit writing this, the box of delectable treats is leaving grease stains on my table.

Pollan might be a little conflicted about what do with these Chinese delicacies, but I have no doubt. In fact, I'm swallowing a sesame ball right now.

May 3, 2008

The Food of Makeup

I just got my mind blown. You heard me, dear reader, my brain actually detonated and parts are currently orbiting earth as we speak. OK, maybe not that intense, but it sure felt like it. I went to this beauty seminar, and I don't mean one of those, "Are you a spring or summer girl? Summer? OK, I'm going to show you in 5 easy steps how to brighten up your face and rejuvenate your look", it was actually more like a health thing. My friend needed extra credit for her bio class and pulled me along because she didn't want to get bored by herself.

I think she was still bored in the end, but I, like I said, was blown away. The whole thing was sponsored by the U's health and spirituality department, and it was held at the Moo's tower auditorium, which automatically made it seem more credible. The master of ceremonies (or whatever you call the intro person) asked the audience if they had put 5 or more different types of chemicals on their body that day. A few people raised their hands, but then the woman started listing off everything that had chemicals in it, like shampoos, body lotion, perfume, face cleanser, soap, etc. and soon everybody had their hands raised.

She followed up her question with the statement that while the chemicals in individual items are insignificant, after applying 5 or more items, that amount is no longer so small, and can cause major problems such as skin cancer down the line. She let the audience soak up that thought for a moment before introducing a woman who wrote a book on the subject, a women's health advocate and the founder and CEO of Aveda. While the introduction was whatever, her first statement hit me hard. I've always prided myself in not wearing makeup or doing my hair with sprays and mousses because I thought those were the things that were going to ruin my health. Turns out, ordinary items used for cleanliness are actually harming me too.

I sat in silent agony and completely zoned out all the other people talking and asking questions until my friend bumped me to listen to the Aveda guy (because she likes Aveda, not the guy, she doesn't know the guy). What he said sucked my brainy bits back from the troposphere and recoagulated it into one piece. He said, "why not make products that go on your skin out of food? If your body can handle and digest food on the inside, isn't food the safest choice to put on the outside?"

Genius. This is natural living at its peak. From now on, I'll make cucumber and tomato salad, and whatever is left over will be used to wash my face.

OK, not trying to be sarcastic. I think what he said makes sense. From now on, the ingredients list for the food and skincare products I buy will be the same so that I can keep myself healthy, inside and out.