Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Our Food System



                I had the opportunity to attend The Midlands food Summit hosted by The Midlands Local Food Collaborative on Monday. When I got the invite I had no idea what the event was, or what it was really about. Nor did I have a clue as to what The Midlands Local Food Collaborative was or what they stood for. Needless to say I was just tickled to be included in something to do with the midlands food movement.
                After giving myself a bit of a pep-talk sitting in the car, I headed for the door of the Philips Center at the State Farmers Market. Once inside I quickly tried to find some familiar faces. Seeing a few made me more comfortable and I started to breathe a little bit easier. I found a seat and started to listen to the crowd around the table. I unknowingly sat with a group of Ag Teachers.
                About an hour or so into the meeting I had a pretty clear view of who this collection of people are. I was extremely grateful to be present. They are people that work, lead and motivate our actual food system. It was everyone from Non-Profit Food Hubs, The USDA (Natural Resources Conservation Service), Farmers, Lenders (agricultural lenders that help get grants and such), to the consumer. It was a large group of entities and individuals that care about making our food sustainable.
                I think I might have actually died and gone to Heaven for the few hours that I was there. Being able to learn about the challenges that our current farmers have was truly an eye opener for me. To realize that for our whole state, we only have two USDA certified slaughtering facilities gave me perspective on what our meat farmers are up against. For me to hear that our schools are not equipped to handle fresh food was another kicker. Are we not building kitchens in schools anymore? Or is it that there are so many regulations in regards to cooking real food, that the system just does not allow real food? I was learning all of this and more while we were brain storming ideas on how to solve such issues.
                And that is where the beauty of this whole meeting came together. When a hundred or so people put their minds together to bring positive change, is when change can actually happen. We all understand that in today’s society that what we eat will not be 100 percent local. But to strive towards a goal that will allow more people to actually have access and eat food produced in South Carolina, is a goal all South Carolinian's should be working towards. If we want to avoid major price hikes and not knowing where our food comes from, we might want to take a moment to think of how much food is needed for each person, each day. Then think about how much land is actually being used to raise said food. And then, Think about who will farm that, because as of now the average age of a farmer is 59 years old.
                My brain is still reeling from so much information, information such as the Food Safety Modification Act (FSMA) that was signed into law in back in 2011. (http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm247548.htm )   It went into law but the FDA has yet to re-release its guidelines. Guidelines that when first released last year would have cause the organic farmer to be obsolete. Thankfully, the FDA is rewriting the guidelines, but they still expect that a number of small farms to be put out of business.

                Whatever the FDA decides is appropriate, we as consumers can make the difference for our state by buying from our local farms, and of course by being active in organizations that lead the way in managing our food rights. I mean, how silly would it be if we could no longer have a farmers market because of regulations?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer



                A friend told me she had wondered what I had been up to since we last spoke. She said “I headed to your blog and read the last few posts”. As I was reading her email, I realized it has been some time since I actually wrote something for my own blog. Opps. It is funny how easily one can forget to take care of their own “stuff” when they are taking care of others. Anyway, I figured I would take this nap time and bring everyone up to speed on what’s been going on in my world.

                This family has been quite the road-running-group this summer. Mostly day trips but we have had a few over night ones as well. Yes, I know, summer just started, what can I say?

Our fist trip was actually before school was out. We headed to the mountains to show the kids what a mountain actually is. With Table Rock being so close we thought hey, why not? I mean after all I don’t think one can really describe the beauty of it in terms a 4 year old can fully grasp. Some things they just need to see for their selves to get the true impact of such a sight.  Jay and I have hiked Table Rock before so we knew it wasn’t something we could have our little tackle quite yet. We did however hit the base of it to show them the creeks and goof around. We also checked out the waterfall which was stunning although they didn’t think so. One day they will appreciate it, but just not yet.



Isle of Palms
                Next we had a fantastic beach day at The Isle of Palms. What a fun place that was! We parked in a county (at least I think it was county) park right at the beach. There were bathrooms (real bathrooms, not a port-a-john), changing rooms, a playground, grilling areas and even a small snack cart in case you needed a little treat. It really was the perfect spot for a family fun day!



                Then over Father’s Day we headed out for our first “camping” trip with the kids. I say “camping” with a grain of salt because although we had a fantastic time and the facilities turned out to be truly appropriate for a first outing, it wasn’t what we had thought it was going to be. We headed down to James Island. We thought we would save a few bucks and get the “primitive” campsite and really give the kids a true woodsy camping experience.
               
  Okay, Soo we got there kind of late, well late. It was after dark late. We checked in and headed to our spot. We parked, walked to the entrance trail and saw a giant football field. There were tents pretty much along the entire boarder of the field. We laughed at our “primitive” spot and carried on with our setup. As we were heading back to the car we noticed frogs everywhere. Not like one here or there, but like you had to really watch where you step or you would squish one. The kids really enjoyed playing Spot the Frog. The kids did great sleeping in the tent, even though we forfeited our dry run of camping in the back yard.
Folly Beach
               
 This county park was really geared towards families. They had a splash pad, bike trails, a water park and free access to Folly Beach. Folly beach was awesome. There was a channel that runs along the shoreline. When its high tide it fills and then it’s super suitable for small kids. I think we had more fun in the channel than the actual ocean waves.

                Let me just say that for each of these trips, we maybe spent one hundred and fifty dollars. The county and state park system is a true jewel on the wallet. Anyway, In addition to this I have had the pleasure of reading the book of John with some really great ladies, meeting a cool Bee Keeper in Sumter, eating some delicious BB-Que from different parts of the state and celebrating a sweet someone turning three.


                So there it is, well the highlights anyway. This type of schedule will continue on, my house will remain a mess, but we will be living life and enjoying all that South Carolina has to offer. May you find yourself in such a place! Happy Summer!!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Slab-O-Meat



  Yesterday morning I had made a promise to my son. Okay, I bribed him into going to school with an ice cream party. In order to make good on my promise, we needed supplies.

  We were pursing the grocery, the meat section to be percise, when my little jammed his pointer finger strait through the packaging and into the meat. Alrighty then. I tried not to laugh or get upset, but I was not indending on buying a roast for any reason. 

 Well, it did make it's way home with us and I was at a loss on what I should do with it. Just stumped.  We are out of most of my staple ingredients, which made it that much more difficult. 

 I finally just cubed it up and started throwing stuff in the pot.

This is the beauty that emerged.


Ingredients

Onion
Paprika 
Turmeric 
Olive Oil
Fresh Rosemary 
Fresh Garlic
Salt & Pepper
Can of Pre-seasoned Diced Toms
Water
Chuck Roast

 I did only use half of the roast. I figured that it could at least help us stretch our dollar a bit further by being a Two-Fer item. You know, two-for-one? 

 I have been trying to use less meats in cooking lately. No particular reason other than trying to change up eating habits and spending more wisely. If we stay out of the rut, the kids seem to be more open to eating whatever we throw their way. And who doesn't want more for their money? I know I do.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Different Kind of Food

   Spring Break has come and gone. It seemed like it just flew by, leaving us with only a few eye-batting-what-was-that moments.maybe because this has been a busy spring break. So much so, that I cannot recall most of it. What I do recall is, finally getting soil and being convicted. Yes, convicted.

The surprise cost of 3 cubic yards of soil was much more than I had anticipated for our garden. So much so that I accepted that we wouldn't be able to fill our raised beds. After I had phoned a few distributors, I literally said to my hubs “not No, but h-e-double hockey sticks no”. There was no way I could justify the cost (right now). I even planted half of one of the bigger boxes thinking we would make do.
                Saturday morning came and the Hubs had been to drop the kids off with his parents. On the way back he stopped by a landscaping lot that we drive by every time we head to Manning. He did so just to see what they had to offer. They were such amazing people that they met us after hours so we could get some reasonably priced top soil. The cost was about $30 for our truck full. Blue Moon Landscaping has by far been the best customer service oriented facility I have seen in a long time. And they have great products.
                So the soil is in. The boxes are not completely full, but we figured hey, it’s a start and we are trying to be budget friendly here. We filled holes, seeded, put in a bed and literally worked all day. We got as much done as we could and went to get the kids back.
                We met his parents at his sister’s house in Pinewood, had a fun egg hunt and she invited me to one of her church’s events. It sounded like fun, so I was in. Little did I know what would take place at that event.
That Thursday I made my way back to Pinewood. Before I get started with this part, I want to say that I believe in God. However, I have never felt the need to know the Bible inside and out, or discuss really anything about it with others. I looked at it as a personal “thing”. With that said, let’s move forward.
                I get there, meet up with my sister in-law and we head to the church. It was quite lovely. The tables were all set with fine china and decorated in a manner that suited each person’s personality that sponsored the individual table. The men were the servers and sported a black tie. The food was catered and door prizes were handed out. The guest speaker was Dawndy Mercer Plank and what a speaker she is. As she spoke, I started to get that tight knot in my throat. You know the one that is paired with pursed lips? As I listened to her, it became very clear to me that it was no accident that I was present. Her words about being “F-I-N-E” described exactly how I’ve become, Frustrated-Insecure-Neurotic-Exhausted. I was so worried about fitting in, being accepted by the “right crowd” (whoever they are), focused on injustices and looking forward to what I want to do with my life that I was missing it. I was missing the life that was going on right in front of me and I got so exhausted trying to keep up.
                She gave several situations that were her own tests. But the one that struck me was, when she was given a specific verse to guide her. And that’s when I knew how important it really is to know Gods words.
                When the supper was over, I made the hour drive home and had plenty of time to think. To think about all the directions I've been pulled, about how easily my eyes have been shifted away from what IS important. How I have already wished away so many sweet moments. I was so moved that I pulled over in the Food Lion parking lot to write down a few things I was thinking. This is a bit of what I wrote that night in the parking lot.
                “Well, I’m pretty blown away with God’s Love. You see, I have been having a difficult time with a number of things lately. Being pulled so many directions, I have become all that she spoke of. Gods calling me back and tonight he was pretty direct. Giving me answers to the many, many questions I have been asking. He spoke to me as if I was the only one in the room, and I wanted to bawl like a child who has been busted telling a lie. Conviction is a beautiful thing, and it’s why I sit in this lot writing my story.”
                Receiving this message has given me the perspective that I really needed. I’m kinder to my children, more empathetic in rough situations and quite frankly, I am relieved to be able to stop trying to empress people.  I can breathe deep and know I am loved.



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Finding the Light

  I received a "real" camera from my husband for my birthday. Since then I've been playing around and capturing some nice shots. At least I think they are.
  Instead of writing an entry today, I thought I'd share some of my favorites. I hope you enjoy this learning journey I am on. Please feel free to send your advice, critics or any general kind encouragements.








Sunday, March 2, 2014

Twisted Turn

So a few nights ago I had to take my hubs into the ER. He was having cardiac like symptoms and it's always better to be cautious than not. He's fine and all, but the experience has left us with many questions. 


He started reading an athletic training book and came across something we both thought was interesting. Now I'm not saying this is what has happened to him but the symptoms are similar. 


Most of us have heard of a gluten intolerance by now, but what about a Carb Intolerance? 


Ya, we hadn't either.  The book suggests a two week trial "Diet". 


The word Diet makes me gringe. To me, it says "go without" or "eliminate". I don't know about you, but when someone tells me I can't have something, I want it more than ever. 


So when he said he wanted to try this diet, I took a deep breath and held it. I heald it until he started reading the "regulated foods". 


At that point I started to laugh and say " Wait, we already do that!" And here it comes...


He only eats supper at the house for the most part. So, out with that, finally! 


As it has it, it took some shaking (not from me) for him to fully commit to a clean eating lifestyle. 


Now, please don't take me wrong. We are way far from a "perfect eating" family. But we do the best we can with our schedule. 


Hopefully, over the next few weeks we can nail down the cause and move forward.         

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Food First!

A few weeks back, okay, last summer I asked Kristen of Elite Nutrition and Performance on Devine Street, to write a guest post. I held onto it waiting for the right time to post it. I have come to realize there is no right time. Something always comes up weather it's buying a house, getting sick or getting caught up in every day life. 

With that said please welcome Kristen and her helpful insight! 


Food First!
Supplements Second

People often ask me what supplements should I be taking to help me excel in my sport, gain muscle, lose weight or just feel better. What always amazes me is that their diets are usually are filled with fast food, prepackaged foods and “junk” foods! Therefore, they have no business thinking about supplements and should be thinking about how to improve their diet.

What someone eats on a daily basis far more determines how his or her body responds and ultimately produces the results they are looking for. I always remind my clients “garbage in, equals garbage out.” Meaning, if you fill your body with junk food, you will get poor results from your body. Supplements are not meant to be a healthy diet in a pill; they are simply what they say they are…a supplement. They are meant to supplement your diet that is already filled with whole foods that come from the ground.

Eating a diet based on a whole food diet has many benefits, such as:

·         It’s more nutritious
·         Ingest more fiber
·         Food is better digested, absorbed and utilized
·         No hidden sugars, preservatives, chemicals or ingredients we can’t pronounce

Let’s compare eating a real banana versus a Gu Energy Gel during a training session.


Banana
Gu Energy Gel
Ingredients
Banana
Maltodextrin (Glucose Polymers), Filtered Water, Fructose, GU Amino Blend (Leucine, Valine, Histidine, Isoleucine), Sodium And Potassium Citrate, Natural Peppermint Extract, GU Antioxidant Blend (Natural Vitamin C And Vitamin E), Citric Acid, Calcium Carbonate, Sea Salt, Contains Preservatives [Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate], Fumaric Acid, Gu Herbal Blend [Chamomile, Ginger], Pectin.
Calories per serving
89 calories
100 calories
Carbohydrates
22.8g
25g
Sugar content
Total: 12.3g
Glucose: 4g
Fructose: 2.3g
Sucrose: 6g
Total: 5g
Maltodextrin: 70-80% (3.5g)
Fructose: 20-30% (1.5g)
Fiber
2.3g
0g
Protein
1.1g
0g
Benefits
-Contains fiber
      -prevents certain cancers
      -time released energy
-Contains vitamins B6, C
-Contains manganese, an essential mineral
-Contains potassium, an electrolyte
-Contains water (~75% of banana is water)
-Contains some protein (amino acids), which helps to time- release energy from food
-More palatable than Gu
-Portable
-Research supports bananas as just as good or even better than sports supplements
-Cheap (~ ¼ the price of GU)
-Can buy anywhere
-Contains electrolytes
-Some contain caffeine
     -quick, extra boost of   energy
     -can lead to heart palpitations in those with heart conditions
-Contain some amino acids (protein) for time released energy
-Portable

This of course is just one example of a sports supplement vs. real food. However, you should always be doing your homework when considering taking a supplement. Things to ask yourself should include:
1.     Is it safe?
a.     A number of supplements are tainted with ingredients they shouldn’t contain, such as prescription drugs and steroids
b.    Check out www.consumerlab.com or http://www.nsfsport.com for help with this one
2.     Is it effective?
3.     What are the ingredients and can I pronounce them?
4.     Are there any real-food options that are comparable to the product?
a.     Remember, real food will be absorbed and utilized better than supplements!
5.     What is the cost?
6.     Is the manufacturer making to good to be true claims? If so, this is a red flag!

Most athletes get sick of the super-sweet taste of sports supplements and don’t favor the aftertaste and “film” that’s left in their mouth afterwards. If this is you, consider making your own “supplements!” A few favorites of mine are Homemade Sports Drink and Gluten Free Energy Balls!

Kristen Tice-Ziesmer, MS, RD, CSSD, LD
Sports Dietitian, Certified Personal Trainer
Owner of Elite Nutrition & Performance