back to black

New year, new resolutions. This one isn’t about losing weight or getting in shape, but that will be a natural side benefit.

Fad diets? Nope. Excercizing more? I intend to, but that’s another story.

I’ve been into organics and natural foods for several years, now I’m learning more about eating local and slow food. Putting it all together has shed some intersting light on what’s hidden in the typical American diet. Sugars that we are mindlessly consuming, or are totally unaware are present. It’s just no wonder the state of unhealthfulness were in!

Learning more about food miles has me eager to eat locally, more healthfully as a favor to the planet (and my family). Rather than adopt a seemingly extreme 100 mile diet or some other arbitrary number, I’m going to attempt to have all my foods grown or processed within New England (being that I live, pretty much smack dab in the middle, that works well. – and isn’t all that far off from 100 miles come to think of it…) Luckily this leaves me open to surf and turf. Too bad for the seafood lover in Denver.

I’ve already started gardening indoors, planning what’s going outside, and looking for local sources of raw ingredients – and the occasional processed food stuffs. King Arthur Flour in VT for example, will suffice as a local processor of wheat (grown in the heartland) while I search for local wheat berries to grind myself. (I already bake my own bread anyway). The hopeful outcome will be reducing the food miles on my plate, the amount of packaging destined for landfill (if not recyclable) and thereby the amount of gas and oil consumed in bringing my food to the table. Saving me money, and doing the planet a world of good.

Part of looking locally, naturally has us favoring the garden, and I do plan on growing much of my own vegetables, as well as visiting my local farmers and farmers markets. NH apples trump Washington, and for the occasional product I need… the closer to home the better. New York wines instead of Chilean ones. (but let’s not worry about beverages just yet.)

Another part of the equation is naturally weeding out all those empty calories in the supermarket that we don’t really need – and have long since lost the metabolism to process. (Where does one find real Cheez?)

I’ve recently become aware (I love food blogs and podcasts – citizen journalism – power to the people!) of the movie King Corn – a documentary about 3 guys growing an acre of corn just to see where our food comes from and what happens to it. They had no idea where the project would take them.

I haven’t seen the film yet, just heard about it. (Thanks Don!) And now understand that corn is in almost everything we (the typical american) eats. Even the well rounded “college diet” of burgers, pizza and donuts is highly corn based. No diversity there – and LOTS of hidden sugar. Even those low-carb meals are full of sugar – given that most of the livestock in this country is fed corn – and not the delicious corn on the cob we eat mind you. Basically a nutritionally devoid foodstuff that is making our animals fat and unhealthy. Not good eats. (Vegans rejoice!)

Anyhow, taking a more local look at what I stock the shelves with, reading ingredient labels and only eating corn on purpose will take a TON of sugar out of my diet. Less sugar, less empty calories. Fewer calories in, fewer to burn or store as fat. Easy beans.

This week I started by adjusting my coffee habit. (Yes, coffee isn’t local, neither is Tea. I said lets not look at beverages just yet 😉

Step one, ditch the artificial creamer. It was a must when I was vegan, but I’ve lost the taste for milk in coffee. I know this isn’t the best thing to have, and once thought it was my only vice, my only source of empty calories. I like black coffee just fine, but I like my mochas too.

Anyhow here’s some simple math with coffee – information courtesy of Starbuck.com nutritional information page.

16 oz (Grande) Peppermint Mocha (yummy!) 400 Calories, 49 grams of sugar. (I’d usually get a Large for 80 calories more, 62 grams of sugar)

In the summer I’d enjoy a Java Chip Frappucino 490 calories (down from 600 without whipped cream) but these have 75 grams of sugar.

Today I ordered (and enjoyed) a large (16 oz) cup of coffee – 5 calories (black) 16 more calories with sugar. hmm 21 calories vs 480. How many minutes on the treadmill to walk that off?

Given that I was likely to have between 1 and 3 of these a week…. I’m looking at cutting excess (and typically mindless) 1,100 calories a week. Another benefit… it’s way cheaper.

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About Scott

I am a son, brother, husband and father, and I am (or have been and enjoyed being) A student of science, art, and humanities in the states and abroad. A graphic designer, art deparment manager, and an art director. A woodworker, home renovator & preservationist. Vegetarian, organic gardener, cook. Photographer, cartoonist. Runner, judoka and fencer. An actor, writer, director and producer for a student run (but not school affiliated or sponsored) local access variety show. A uomo universale in training! In my spare time I like to read, watch movies and look for other creative pursuits and new inspirations!
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2 Responses to back to black

  1. Paulette says:

    I am a first time visitor. Great Post. I would love to hear more on your thoughts re:Step one, ditch the artificial creamer

  2. Scott says:

    My parents use milk to lighten their coffee, so the only added sugar they’re drinking is a spoonful or two of sugar. Growing up they would let me have the last sip from the cup – which was decidedly sweeter – and that’s how I thought coffee was supposed to taste. It took living in France (And only being given a tiny cube of sugar) to break me of the six or seven sugars habit. Now to realize (or to have this in-your-face reminder) that my lightener of choice (a hold out from my days of giving up dairy) is water, corn syrup solids and soy or cottonseed oil.

    I like (sweetened) black coffee just fine – lately I use a sugar and stevia (herb) to help cut back on the extra calories, but it took a little outside encouragement to remind me I don’t need the overly processed (and totally unnatural) lightener, and the calories (and the extra effort it takes the body to digest). Besides which, a spill left on the counter will plasticize. Food shouldn’t do that.

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