Saturday, February 9, 2008

Bookworm Posse: "In Defense of Food" pt. 1

Hello All!

I hear there’s a party going on in here. I’m not sure which bar I should hit first, the wine or the wheatgrass… My globetrotting wife Kris is in South Carolina for the weekend - in the middle of an all day yoga class as we speak - so I thought I’d kick things off with our little book club.

For anyone just dropping by, we’ve begun reading Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food.

First off, I love Pollan’s writing. He has such a talent for digesting (pardon the pun) our familiar world and reflecting it back to us with a fresh, clear perspective. You see connections where you hadn’t before, and learn that there are deliberate forces, often political, influencing parts of our lives that we assumed were the domain of chance.

We live in a strange time, food-wise. As our world shrinks, our food options grow larger. Consider the produce section at your mega-grocery: it’s brimming with exotic choices our parents and grandparents never even heard of, let alone had access to. And this bounty is available season after season, all year around. We take this so for granted that we need a leap of imagination to realize just how novel and unnatural this is. As they say, “it’s always summer somewhere.” This, of course, brings up a variety of related issues: the connection between chow transport and global warming; the reliance on preservatives and GMO for longer shelf-life, to name a few.

Pollan talks about how much our diets have changed over the past few generations – for good and bad. He describes his Grandmother’s diet in the 1940’s, his Mom’s in the 1960’s, and now his. We all know our family stories – who, when, where - but do you know your food story?

My Mom grew up during the 1930’s and 40’s. Her relationship to food was probably typical of an upper-middle class American family at the time. (Hi Mom. I know you’re out there but either too shy to comment or can’t figure out how to sign in. Or both.) When she was a kid, it was a special occasion to have citrus fruit, for example. At Christmas they’d get a bag of oranges - all the way from a place called Florida!!

Back then dinner was a sit-down family affair, and she continued this tradition when I was growing up. We had a big old farm bell in our suburban front yard. You could hear it all the way to the edge of my known world, and when it rang, you’d better haul your ass home to dinner. Of course my brother, sister, and I tended to resent this tribal obligation. While many of our friends were free to wander home whenever they pleased and forage for leftovers or TV dinners, we were stuck in Family Land, talking, laughing, and passing around hot casseroles. In hindsight, from the perspective of nutrition, some of the food was unhealthy. But the meal - the overall experience - was infinitely nourishing.

As Pollan writes in the intro: “We forget that historically, people have eaten for a great many reasons other than biological necessity. Food is also about pleasure, about community, about family and spirituality, about our relationship to the natural world, and about expressing our identity.

We know instinctively that food and community are inseparable, but we struggle so hard in this drive-thru age. Incredible advances have been made in nutrition – not all old habits are good just because they’re old - and I for one am happy for the variety today. But with 1 in 6 Americans eating lunch in the car, how do we change the system and reclaim a holistic definition of EAT?

What was a meal for you growing up? Talk to your families – hopefully you’re lucky enough to have a few generations still hanging around – find out what they ate. And how they ate. And why. What about your distant ancestors? What is your Gastro-Geneology?

Would love to hear your thoughts on In Defense of Food.

-- Brian
PS - thanks Dhrumil for a great blog!


Dee said...

Brian! I was so glad when my Google Reader chimed telling me a new post was up! Wow that sounds more stalker-ish then I intended.

I love Pollans prose, it's very to the point and clear cut but not dry at all. It's relate-able and easy to read, but chock full of information that digests for hours after you ingest it.

For me, personally, I come from a very rich history when it comes to tradition. Very steeped in old world, and with a slight hesitance to the new. Most of my family is in Italy, Greece, France and Spain and while I'll refrain from saying what 'class' we'd fall into, I never really knew any different from what I was brought up. My family (and by family I mean, the big, giant, extended family, that's how we Italians do it you know)has farms of our own, and most of the produce that we consume is from our own land. At least, when I visit in Italy it is, I'm assuming they eat from there even when I'm not visiting.

The meals subsist mostly on vegetables, with fish and meat sporadically through out. Pasta was a mainstay of course, but we enjoyed dozens of roasted vegetable stews, fresh fruit gelatos, and so many tomatoes that I think I don't bleed human blood, it's a strange mix of lycopene and coconut water.

My family has a strong history in the food industry, restaurants, farming, and so forth that I grew up thinking that big elaborate five or six course meals on Sunday nights were just what everybody did. Granted, when I came to the US, well, I was in for a shock.

In Italy, you don't pay attention to 'organic' because, well, everything there IS organic. You pull your vegetables for the evening from the ground, you catch your dinner off your boat, and the kitchen is always, always bustling with activity, with smells, with laughter and with wine.

Yes I am 80/20 now, but I'd be lying if I said I still don't enjoy those moments. Some of my favorite and happiest memories of my life are in that kitchen, in any kitchen, with my family. The smells, the sounds, the sights...everything. It's just home to me.

Here (the States) it's so weird that it's now MORE difficult to buy something or find something straight from the earth, then some genetically/chemically effected/treated used to be food but is now just God knows what item. Butter isn't just butter anymore, milk isn't just milk, meat isn't just meat, and when you grab a cucumber you actually have to stop and make sure it's not completely ridden with pesticides.

Grocery shopping is one of my favorite things to do, I grew up learning how to count in markets with my mother and if you were good during the week, the treat we got was that we were able to accompany our mother to the market and pick out our favorite fresh fruit. With so many children in the house (at any given time, around 11 people under the age of 20) you weren't always guaranteed your favorite unless you got to go buy it, and then you had first 'claim'. It was a treat to see everything and to this day, it still is. I love the market in the traditional sense of the word, the open air markets and farmers markets in Italy, Greece or France, not the crazy SUPERWALMART whatever that is every where here.

There is something strangely wrong about buying your produce and then one aisle over, buying a jumbo thing of Clorox and then still, another aisle over, able to get Panda Express.

Simple pleasures are what life is all about. I think food, while nutritional yes and needed to sustain life, should be pleasured, and enjoyed.

I think this is easily the longest comment I've ever left! Can you tell I'm really passionate about food?

Anne said...

Great post, Brian! So nice to hear from you!

I'm 45 years old. Your description of the family dinner table is pretty different from what I remember, although we, too, had that obligation of sitting around together every night, always at 6 o'clock because that's when Dad expected Mom to have dinner on the table. We always ate by candlelight and it was always tense.

My mom was really into being a gourmet, and my dad loved that about her. In looking back, I can see that they viewed food as a symbol of their success. I don't know what my grandmother was raised on, or even what she cooked when my mother was a child, but when I was a child, she cooked bland meat, lots of potatoes and white bread, and "vegetables" were always canned corn, canned peas or that canned stuff with corn, peas and carrots. My mother turned her back on that stuff as soon as she could afford to, so I actually grew up eating meals that were more imaginative and probably a little healthier than my friends, but the dinner table was a tense place to be.

My dad was an aeronautics engineer and he came home stressed. He also had many rules, although my older sister and I weren't always sure what they were until we were getting yelled at for something we hadn't known was a rule. Chewing with your mouth open, putting too much butter on a roll, accidentally letting spaghetti slip off a plate or spilling milk, talking about a subject he didn't feel like listening to, singing at the table . . . BLAM! The fist would come down on the table and the yelling would commence. He'd get angrier and angrier as he yelled, Mom would start trying to pacify him, and by that time, who the hell cared what we were eating!? Oftentimes, the meal itself would set him off or something totally unrelated to the meal. He'd berate my mother for her cooking, for the way her hair looked, for running up a bill at the dentist office, for needing a new vacuum cleaner.

This is why, today, I insist that our family dinners be pleasant. Nowadays, as I've put us on a more vegan, more raw path, my husband, one of my daughters and I eat lots of vegetables and salads and whole grains, while my other daughter eats mostly meat and bread (that's the subject of whole different post), but I refuse to let the conversation derail itself into anything less than fun and/or supportive. Despite the fact that my dad is retired now, and so gracious and appreciative and full of love that sometimes I wonder what this man has done with the man who used to be my father, I still hate having meals with my parents, who are still food snobs. I always worry that I'm not serving something "good" enough, that my girls won't behave appropriately, that something--who knows what--will set off that old familiar tension.

As for In Defense of Food, I agree with Pollan's comments about what HIS grandmother may have eaten, but I would never to look to how my grandparents ate as an example of what/how we should eat now. (My mother claims that her childhood dinner table experiences also were marred by a grumpy, authoritarian father.) I'm totally blazing my own trail, influenced more by my parents' food choices (they're very healthy and, although they eat too much meat, they do more fruits and vegetables than most people I know) than my grandparents', but mostly interested in discovering my own path to healthy eating--both in terms of WHAT we eat and HOW we eat it.

Bethany said...


I've spent a lot of time lurking on this blog, but I've always loved reading the wonderful insight here. Anyway, I remember from my family dinners growing up a family commraderie much like you mentioned Brian ~ family sit downs to talk about the day and everything. I can't say that as a kid I appreciated it as much as I do now ~ but I think that's true in a lot of areas, not just the dining room table. Going to my grandparents during the holidays and on Sundays we would also have big meals around the table, catching up with each other lives and just enjoying each other's company, so I know that this is something my mom brought with her from her own upbringing. I have to admit though that I find it hard now, being single, to carry out the healthy eating as I would like. Eating full, balanced meals is a challenge by itself when cooking for one, but I tend to spend my dinnertime sitting in front of the television with a tv tray in front of me. But when I think of dinners I do think of that family around the table, and I know that if I do get married... or have kids... that I will do my best to carry out this tradition that I learned from my own family.

Thanks for the wonderful post - it always helps to sit back and look at others perspectives while looking at your own choices and habits. :)

Christine said...

Anne, Bethany, and Dee--great start to the bookworm posse! I loved reading your stories!!
Brian-Thanks for getting us started!!

My husband and I recently purchased a new home and the kitchen is HUGE! I have really enjoyed cooking and making the kitchen and healthier eating a more important part of our lives.

Organic and raw are new words surrounding food is new to me. My dad and family started eating better when I was around 14 (I'm 23 now) when my dad made it his goal to outlive his father (who died when he was 49). Well he did it. And completely changed the way he ate, exercised, and lived. It rubbed off on me, and now I gladly shop organic and eat healthier. I love to grocery shop and experiment with different types of food. I hope these traditions that I have adopted will become part of my future children's lives as my dad has helped me.

Cravin' Veggies said...

Great post Brian! Is that Guruji behind you in the pic?

I grew up in the 70s. Before my Dad died, we always had family dinners. Mostly meat and potato type meals, as I recall. After my sisters moved away and my dad died, my mom really didn't make family meals for the two of us. It was more fast-food-made-at-home. TV dinners, minute steaks, frozen pierogies... anything that was quick and easy.

Unfortunately, that was the extent of my cooking knowledge for several years. It wasn't until the last 10 or 15 years that I started eating better, and just the last year or so that I have been eating really well.

I wish I knew then what I know now. I wish books like Michael Pollan's were on my reading list in the 1980s!!

I am glad, though, that I am able to bring my children up with insight into what goes in their meals, and where it comes from. We garden as a family, and they understand the hows and whys of food. I always share snippits of information with them as I am reading. At least they will be armed with the info needed to feed their families right.


Rebecca said...

Dee - your post made me laugh! Last night, our awesome neighbor from Sicily came over as we were furiously juicing kale, swiss chard, cukes, apples, etc. We excitedly told him about our new passion for eating healthy, whole foods, since Jason's parents were diagnosed with cancer. He looked at us sideways like we had lost our minds! Unlike so many other cultures, we've been indoctrinated in processed foods; margarine, wonder bread, steak and canned vegetables. It takes a lot of effort to reprogram the way we think about food. Meanwhile, Vincenzo is already there and takes it for granted. It is so exciting and empowering for us to take control over our diets and feel connected to our food like never before.
Jason and I are defacto Christians, but living in New York we've been to many Jewish meals and we've long said we should become Jewish if for nothing else then for sabbath dinners where lights are turned off, cell phones and tv gone, you share a meal with your most beloved friends and family and give thanks for your many blessings.

There were so many gory details in Pollan's book (damn the FDA to hell!). But I also found it inspiring and it put me very much at ease to let go and enjoy. Just follow some simple rules about eating, like if you can't pronounce it, don't eat it. Whole foods rock!

Yum, R

debbiedoesraw said...

Hi all
So jealous that you are all reading the book and am allegedly the first in line, yet the library now shows 2 books, both checked out???? I called, they insist I am first but apparently 2 other dudes got there before me.

I had a very similar "angry dad" dinner syndrome growing up.. also, the "eat it all if it takes 2 hours and the food is cold and horrible" deal from him Most times, his favorite punishment at meal time was sending us, with our plate of food into the bathroon and having us eat sitting on the lid of the toilet seat.. I seem to recall my plate being put there too.
Jeez, no wonder food has so many ...attachments or whatever for me.
I have no idea what grandparents ate, but all were from upstate NY and I assume they ate SAD. All died fairly young and my dad passed at 58. My mom, who was never without a garden and ate tons of veggies, passed at 78.
When I turned 15 I found the book "food is your best medicine" and started rejecting soda and other junk foods....the family dinners pretty much disintegrated by then except for holidays, which is another long post.

My family always has a sit down dinner together, mostly sharing about our day. Even though I usually eat salad while they eat what I cooked them, we still share that time. It is very important to me.

love to you and your families!

braintumorsurvivor said...

I've got the book on order at my library, and can't wait to dig in. Yes, another food pun.

My memories of my family's eating history start with my Norwegian grandparents. We often joke that all Norwegian food is white, and if it's not white, we put a white sauce on it. Weird Norwegian humor.

But I remember luscious wild salmon, baked whole, that had just been caught by my grandfather right from the Pacific. He was an amazing fisherman. He used to say, "I can eat da fish til bones are stickin' through my t-shirt!" A true Norwegian. And despite loving butter and cream and sugar, he lived to a very hale and hearty 106. Amazing.

But when I think about what HE grew up on, yes, they ate a lot of beef. But it was all grass fed and locally raised. The cream, butter and milk was from their own grass-fed cows. Their vegetables were from their own garden. His diet was completely local.

Growing up, there was no dinner bell at our house. My mother had the amazing ability to whistle loudly enough and distinctively enough to get all five of us to head home from various and distant locals. Usually to a meal of meat, canned vegetable and instant potatoes. Dessert was store-bought cookies. Lunches were mostly bologna sandwiches. Salad, albeit rare, were always made from iceberg lettuce topped with thousand island dressing. Lots of chicken. Some fish. No fresh vegetables. Only canned fruit. Wow. How far we've come.

I clearly remember breakfast at our house. As all five of us kids wandered out to the dining room, we were met by a line-up of cereals, mostly cereals like Lucky Charms, Captain Crunch and Count Chocula. Whole pasteurized milk.

Snacks after school was ice cream or cinnamon toast, with LOTS of margarine.

Scary to think back...

debbiedoesraw said...

Hey gang
I found this interview with Michael Pollan on a lucid spoonful.. great foodie site!

How timely eh?

RachelRae said...

Brian, thanks so much for your perspective! Looks like a good read.
~RR the Social Work chick

holistic chick said...

Great job starting the blog Brian! I met your lovely wife yesterday at the book signing and the gala. It was a great event! She is such a great inspiration and you are an amazing team. (By the way, it was 75 and sunny here :o) Please come next time!)

I love hearing everyone's stories about their childhood meals. Mine consisted of hot dogs, McD's, BK, Wendy's, heaps of sugar on my cereal and soda (I had no idea that water was even an option). I'm now 35 and have a host of problems that I feel are directly related to the crap I ate. Through the years I have been fine tuning what I eat and nutrition and healthy habits have become my passion. My family now sits down most nights of the week. My boys are 5 and 7, I try to get as much good stuff in them as possible. I explain to them why their bodies need these foods and they are receptive to it.

I have mixed feeling about the variety of fruits and veggies at the market. I do love having a variety, but the thought of the process of how it gets there is stressful.

I hope we can all learn to slow down and enjoy our meals, especially with loved ones.

Health and Happiness!

Dancer said...

Hi Everyone,
I am new to the blog and I have a question (so this is a bit off topic from the actual post/book review).

I am reading everyone's info about the Raw Diet and I am very excited about it.

My question...I take Gleevec for Chronic Myelogenic Leuk. and the Gleevec can make me extremely nauseas if I don't eat a (LOT) when I take it.

--Over the past year, I have found that the nausea can most times be abbated if I eat a meal w/ plenty of bread, vegies,protein....and it has taken such a long time to figure this out.

--Do any of you struggle w/ nausea from meds (of course you do) do you get around that w/ the Raw Diet?

thanks for any input!

Be Well,

Sundari said...

Hello Crazy Sexy Book Club,
I immediately connected with the quote that Brian pointed out, concerning our reasons for eating. Although my mother was always a wonderful cook, food equaled: guilt, bonding, and comfort all at the same time. I still have trouble separating these emotions from food. For a long time (and still to a certain extent) I was lured by the claims on boxes of processed foods promising to fulfill my nutritional needs through omega-3's, vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants. I love that Pollan is telling the reader that the answer to all of our nutrition dreams is right in front of our faces and has been since the beginning of time. Juicing, eating raw (most of the time), and integrating wellness practices from Crazy Sexy Cancer's website and blog has sparked a shift in my food-thought process, but it is a huge change to make and it doesn't happen overnight. I hope that reading Pollan's book and continuing to educate myself will flip more switches and help me and my family make more changes in our diets; not only for our health, but our planet.

Dee said...

Dancer- Acidophilius has really helped my stomach, a lot, especially with all the meds I'm on and the fact that they just upped my IV chemo treatment to THREE times a week (as opposed to one that it has been). That being said, I follow an 80/20 diet, and I have sprouted grain bread every time I take my meds, I find it helps the food settle a lot. Also things like Ezekial 4:9 cereal with rice milk before meds helps a lot as well. I also drink Ginger Beer (REEDS brand that has 17 grams of ginger in it) and I call it my 'miracle'. It seriously cures nausea like...nothing I've ever known (and I've gnawed on real ginger!). I highly, highly HIGHLY recommend it to anybody and everybody who has any sense of nausea.

Be careful about detoxing, if you jump into raw foods too fast you can upset your stomach even more. I recommend easing yourself into it, Natalia Rose's book The Raw Food Detox Diet has a good laid out strategy and really informs you on how to shift into it so your body doesn't freak out going 'what the hell!'.

If you have any questions or anything at all don't hesitate to contact me (my email is on my blogger profile, just click on my name) or just holler my way.

Treat Cancer said...

You can treat cancer with Flavonoids!

It's easy, cheap and effective. It costs only $20.

cancer cowgirl xo said...

Brian! I adore you, do you know that? Great post love. You should be a writer! LOL!

Join in gang, you don't have to be reading the book with us to comment. Go for it!

When we get to the source we can understand the changes needed and we can begin the process of releases our addictions and attachments. Comfy home food is that for a reason. But most of the time it's not comfy for our organs. Especially now when we live in a time of corporate farming, animal "harvesting", GMO's, Ocean emptying etc etc - mama earth turning brown. You see, it's all connected. Cancer makes us turn brown on the inside. What we're doing here is regenerating - ourselves and the mother. Voila!

Sundari - Thank you for your comment, it is a huge step and it doesn't happen over night. We all want instant results, "see, it's working" - patience is the only way to get there. BE A TURTLE.

Holistic Chick - I love you! What fun meeting you doll. Thanks for the conversation and the sweet soul vibes. My body is aching and cracking this morning. Six hours with David and Sharon (Jivamukti - boot camp yoga)- what was i thinking?

Dee - TERRIFIC advise! I was just about to write something similar. Can you be my sidekick? Your voice is blaring sunshine, LOUD sunshine, all over this blog. I love it. Keep it coming hotstuff.

Huggy Bear - I did get your blog - so terrific! Will post this week. PS. Ladies, he is very very cute. You will see, I have a pix of our Clint all grown up.

Flavs - What's up man? You said you join us and back off the spam sales pitch. Come on Steve, sign up with your real name and cut the crapola.

If Flavs keeps it up remember this gang, every adversity is an opportunity to learn. So if Flavs wants to spam us then what we learn is how not to offend and impose on others. Flavs give us a lesson in what kind of manners we should have, he teaches us how important it is to respect and stand by your word. So thank you Guru Flavs. Your insensitivity is a great book of wisdom.

LYB said...

Can someone help, I need some feedback. Where do bananas fall within the raw diet and how are they combined? Does anyone use bananas in protein shakes?

Basic Me said...

Brian, It is so good to hear from you. Duncan is thrilled to see you posting. He is loving the husbands on csc. He feels like a lone ranger sometimes.

Now the answer to your question is complicated. I have and come from a family with amazing and wonderful culinary and creative attachments to food. Both my grandparents were children of parent of the civil war. Before and after to serve and share a meal. Each meal is a sumptutious ceremony. The haviland china is used daily as is enough silver to fill fort knox. And the food. I am southern and from Louisiana. My parents have always insisted that you have at supper (your nighttime meal) that there was pork, chicken, and beef, along with many veggies. Greens, rutabegas, cucmbers, potatoes mixed with beats, coleslaw chopped amnd made by hand. Homemade pickles, bisciuts and always pies and cakes at least two pies and two cakes.. And yes my Mother, grandmother and then I cooked this meal that became even more elaborate.
Food is not just a pleasure it is a ceremony that we have all made it through the day and are blessed. As my life continued and I practice all those pie crust and gumbos and jambalyas. I decided that since we were in London and Abilene it would be a wonderful time to maek another career change and head ove to the Cordon Blu and become a chef. I loved it. I loved cooking for duncan. We both ran a lot in those days and we ate. Puff pasty encased lamb, sauces that I cannot even remember all the names, to this day it take me about five minutes to make a pie crust and pie in the oven in seven. After I graduated I went to work in the only upscale resturant in Abilene for my internship. Harden Simmons university had agreed to be the school who watched over my technical internshp. Oh I got experience in roasting coffe beans, making strudel and making some of the best oyter stew ever mafe. It was an Austrain resturant and so good. So for allthe years Duncan was in the military we had an enourmous catering bs. We made food for 300 a day. We made diabetic meals and goyrmet meals. I delighted in coming home and working hard to find a pasta that had just the thickenss for a lasagna someone had requested. I moved to working onthe weekends with Dean Fearing at the Masion on Turtle Creek and learned so much. It was all a pleasure. And amazingly enough I stayed skinny through it all. Hahah.. I cannot tell you how important food and the celebration of love and family that it holds for us. It is indescribable. I can tell you that sittin down at table with four generations on Sundah with Grandmother at the head of the table is a delight. We have been blessed in life and certainly n being exposed t so many food choices. My absolute favorite memory was friday nights as a child. My parents never had baby sitters my little hippy Momma would not hear of it. And after Papa played golf all saturday he would bring us all out to have a huge lobster and filet, escargo and bananas foster made flaming at your table. And crisp asparagus. That was the best meal on earth at the time. Later if we were sick or had a date he would have two entire meals taken and packaged and brought home. Both my sister and I would get home at curfew which was eleven get a shower and check the frige. There is sat... never missed a sat. and if was do melt in your mouth good. It was in itself indescriblable. To this day we love to digg decadently into a plastic container to pull out a hunk of lobster tail and bite off with out hand and teeth a bit of filet so tender you could cry. Last we would eat the escargo and aparagus that had been sharing juices and nibble them down. Heaven. Mornings around the Broussard house wasn't to shabby either Mom would bring is cafe o`laite in the morning and we would wake to the most wonderful sounds and smells biscuits rising in the oven, red eye cravy on the stove, ham and bacon that daddy smoked in the smokehouse getting crisp and sending the aroma throught the house, eggs, grits, and toast just in case no one wanted my Mom'd bisquits. She did this each morning and made a breakfast for the bus driver who picked us up from school. She had help and was one of those Mom;s who were blessed not to go to work until after we moved out if she wanted so we were greeted we we got off the bus to homeade cookies and apple turnovers with homeade puff pastry that would melt in your mouth. All of these customs have trickled into all of our homes. We all sit the table and us the silver and china. Some nights in our busy night we eat in front of the tv with guilt. I was blessed to seek out all the reciepes of the family long before anyone had passes away and have them written in thier handwriting. I married my first date. SO he had a lot on his back. Dating me was a bit different poor Duncan he would ask me where I wanted to eat expecting Godfathers or McDonalds and I would send him on a culinary tour of the world. He loved it though. We would hope in his MGB and travel and eat and explore to say Duncan doesn;t love food would be lying. He loved the fact that even though it is not longer my job to cook. He can open his eyes and say baby how about some of those organic flour popovers except this time put some organic goat's milk yougurt you make inside with some blackberries. So he dreams of dinners of paper thing brown pasta filled with grilled and marinated eggplant, zuchini, and mushrooms. His only cooked meal of the day he loves to create. We now are 80/20 vegan. I do make for him sorbets with fruit and homemade yogurts and organic goats milk monzarella. He doesn;t get it often but he eats every well and so do the ladies here at he mission. His grandmother was from mexico and the other from spain both were as formal as my family and I was lucky enough to know them and hound them for thier family tamales reciepts and other delicacies. I have now the origional and brought them back from the world of Jimmy dean sausage and half back efforts to copy the tamale without the work and written a book with Rick Bayless called Tamales. It was great fun. The process take 12 hours sometimes more and I have to make 600 at a time because I give them all away to friends who love them and my Grandmother who cannot live without them in her freezer. She remembers when tamales were sold on the river banks in Natchez Ms. when her father brought her for vacation and they are her favorite food. Since she is ninety and refuses to share then the whole church wants about twenty each. I love making them But I hate the smell. The are delicous though. I have now changed that reciept to fit out life and use organic cornmeal unbleached and untouched. No lye used. And I feel them with lovely things like portabella mushrooms and sauted arugala and some of that fresh organic goat yogurt or cheese. Spinach is delish with goat ricotta too. WOW.. but those are treats. There is one things I love about the american table in the south. It is very eurpoean. Dinner is served after church and it is always served at table. Everyone shares thier dreams, week, and thoughts, and they enjoy the food. But because you know the next meal will be delightful you eat moderately and stay healthy. I dont think we had a take out hamburger until 1976 when I was is middle school, last year I had a hot dog on a stick at Mardi Gras obviously before I started this plan.. it was amasing.. corn bread and hot dog and mustard who would have thought of that. Although we had to hide off in a corner because my mothers swears women do not walk and eat on the street. But sittin was nice and it was delicious. My sister in law says the dog is corny. cornydog.. but wow. I have to put in here that my father is the worlds best bar-b-q master on earth. He can make ribs so succlent that they fall fof the cone or cook a standing stuffed rib roast to perfection for everyone. More or less cooked to order if he knows the preference of the people eating. He is a genis on the grill. Obviously this was before we started this lifestyle. And it has not hurt out food choices at all. We can easily stay 80/20 and adapt family reciepts to stay within the confine of the diet. The only thing I did miss was the cafe o`laite every morning. No coffee creamer here I am talking half community coffee with chicory and half - half and half with a sprinkle of sugar and nutmeg and cinnomon on top. Today it is herbal tea and we feel 100 percent better.
FUnny once I became a chef my relationship with food changed in one small way. It was for creation and not snacking. I love good food. But to eat to eat doesn't interest you when you cook for hundreds everyday. I love this topic. I have just finished my first book called " Forty Days to a New Relationship with God" I have also written a cookbook that has set for years. I wanted the last generation to have limited but experience with the practices and mindset of a plantation lifestyle banning slavery of course. Would be ineresting. It is funny how the paths in life bring you not only home but home to your life and history in only a way that sharing a meal as a family can. I love this idea connecting to your heritage. I love the idea of sharing these heritages with our csc family. Wonderful first blog. Come back soon.

Many Blessings and Peace love and viggies. Callie

Rhonda Radliff said...

Hey Ya'll,

Pollan's book and food with the family... very interesting stuff.

My family always had dinner together. It was good for the most part with one of my brothers usually spilling something. We had the typical fare of meat, salad, veg, bread and dessert. We didn't drink much soda, but tea was a staple.

My grandparents were farmers so there was always a focus on farm fresh, and whole foods. While we did stray from the wisdom during the canned foods and tv dinner phase, my mom did try to sell buckwheat pancakes and made her own granola from time to time. She was really busy so sometimes the granola was a wee bit burned. However, the expense of making your own granola (sans sugar of course) was very high, so throwing out the burned batch was NOT an option. Blech, burned cereal for breakfast.

I have been a veggie girl off and on for years. I came off meat for about 5 years and ate so much fish I ended up with a 'mercury level' that was making me sick when I ate fish. Another blech. The doctor's advice... take benedryl before eating a fish meal. So instead I gave up fish.

Now with my daughter, we try to eat at the table with a candle (to help us focus on the world, family, etc.) We try to eat fun new veggie combos, curry soups, and I let her eat meat if she is really craving it. We don't eat dairy, but do love goat cheese. It's a process but we are finding our way.

I have CML and I take Sprycel which is 300 times stronger than Gleevec (or so they say). I don't know about how comparable the side effects would be, but I am 80/20 and doing ok. Here are a few tips:

Try a nut butter with the meds. Pecan butter on apples is my favorite, or with a sprouted bread. A good ProBiotic is important during such strong chemo. It's expensive, but it really helps. The ginger is a good suggestion, but it's a strong drink. I like the teas better than the soda (less chemicals, etc.).

Also, as you come off the processed foods, you will see quickly what works for you with the meds. A baked sweet potato with coconut butter and cinnimon helps when my stomach is out of control. Also try papaya and pineapple in a smoothie, as that has really helped me too.

Go slow and as you build some meals to help with side effects, please remember that CML drug side effects seem to 'morph.' So being in tune to yourself will help you discern what may help on a particular day. After a few months of chemo, my side effects are different than in the beginning. I feel like I'm chasing my tail, but as I sort out some med/food issues, others begin. Stay the course... and your body will help tell you what 'sounds good.' If you want pickles for breakfast, listen to that. Be good to yourself and I pray the side effect monster goes away for all of us.

Lots of love,

Basic Me said...

Sorry for the spelling Guys.. I am still half asleep and you all know on a good day it is rough.

I was thinking about the nausea. First are you detoxed? If you have just begun go get The detox Diet by Natilia Rose. It will show you how to slowly move yourself into the 80/20 lifestyle and not suffer from the consequences. Since you are probley nausueas already.

Herbal tea can help too. Sans sugar.. Spearment and Pepperment would age old cures for nausea and I find the sleepy tme tea a natural way to unwind and relaz. So give it shot. The lemon ot Lime in hot water works to. When I had terrible morning sickness and the after chemo duncan would make me the best lime and hot wate ot lemon and hotwaer. It was magiacal. The smell helped too. I also use tons of aromantherapy to aleviate nausea. I would put fresh mint, rosemary on the stove and simmer it on low and keep all the smells I didn;t like away from me. I hope this helps. I think it is natural to have some level of detox symtoms in the beginning make sure you are starting slow enough. I hope this all helps. I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers . Calie

scnewme said...

Hey Everyone,

Thanks for the post Brian - we finally get to know the man behind the camera who stands by our leader!

I see a very similar thread running through everyone's posts...the importance of food and eating as family tradition. Growing up I was fortunate enough to live with my grandparents, first generation born Americans...and because my sweet pop insisted on dinner at 6, everyone else in the house had to stop, drop and run to the table! Every meal consisted of some type of homemade soup, lots and lots of bread, meat, potatoes, pasta and veggies...and of course dessert. Never leave the table til dessert was over!! My hip gram tried to keep up with the new and different for us kids...I can remember when we got our first microwave...oh my....she blew up an entire package of hotdogs and that was pretty much the last time she ever used the thing!! Dinner was a time for discussion - politics, school, family, whatever was going on at the time - we grew up in a very democratic home, by that I mean that no one person dictated topic or conversation. We were pretty much free to express ourselves and I can see how that has influenced me in so many ways.

Now as a mom with kids of my own, I wistfully recall those times and try to make sure we all sit down together at least a few times a week to continue family tradition. Life seems so much more hectic now...the sports, homework, religious studies, social activities. Its easy to fall prey to the fast food, eat on the run, microwave meals-in-a-minute movement and sometimes a struggle to be a non-conformist and eat "real food" but well worth every bit of extra effort.

Pollan's book is incredibly enlightening. He is a master at revealing and clarifying the sad, yet glaring manipulation of intelligent, trusting Americans by the very people we have put in charge of our health and welfare. I find myself feeling very angry at the nutritionism experiment. The marketing lobbyists, FDA and government have devalued human lives solely for the purpose of the all-mighty dollar, and Americans have been led down the Pied Piper's path to illness, obestity, and disease. Pretty pathetic for a country that considers itself a leader of mankind.

Stepping off the soapbox excellent choice guys, thanks for sharing and allowing me to do the same. Can't wait til we meet again next week!


goony said...


It is so nice to read your post and get a sense of who you are, and your support for Kris. I have to admit that I'm a little envious. Since seeing Kris on Oprah, my life has changed. I have changed. She made me want to be better. I am also married to a Brian. We will be married 10 years this August. Unfortunately the changes I've made with regards to food and spirituality, and concern for our planet, have divided us. Food is dividing us. I no longer want to eat meat. I want to recycle. I want to be more spiritual. I want to do everything in my power to improve my health. I've suffered for almost our entire marriage with a disease that kept me down, and now that I'm feeling better, he seems to be threatened by it. I can't talk to him about anything I'm doing because he makes fun of me. So I come here for support. I share a common interest with everyone here and it feels good. My family dinner table was about the norm. Meat, frozen veggie, side of rice, pasta. Never any pop in the house. Only healthy cereals. My mother never pushed us to drink milk because she was lactose intolerant, and I just never liked it. We all ate dinner together at 5:00, and it was a happy time. My husband came from a family of hunters. They killed most of what they ate. His father was not a pleasant man growing up and even threw a plate of dinner up against the wall because he didn't like it. Yes, my FIL who is now a sweetheart of a man. I was raised that you don't complain about the food infront of you. It was disrespectful. My husband was raised to let the cook know if they thought it was terrible. We couldn't be more different. Yesterday he called me Linda McCartney and yelled that his grandma ate meat and lived to be 94 years old. I'm not asking anyone in my family to eat the way I want to. I continue to fix the normal meat, fresh vegetable, and side for dinner, I just don't want to eat it. Dinner is a nightmare for me. My life seems like a nightmare. The changes I'm making are good ones, and are improving my quality of life. I'm hardly in any pain anymore. So why is he so threatened. I figured out yesterday that he has been checking the history on our computer to figure out who I'm talking to online, even though I've told him about this group. I feel violated. I've tried to talk to him about the people here, but it has lead to fights. I wish I could run away. I wish I could live in Europe where there are open air markets and the food is all organic and the fish is fresh from the sea. Have you seen the movie Shirley Valentine's Vacation? I'm sorry Brian, to bring down your post. But what's happening to my marriage is directly related to food and the changes I'm making. I'm so glad that you and Kris found eachother and give eachother the support you each need. It is lovely and I hope to find it myself someday.

Don't feel bad, I'm number 63 in line for the book at my library.

You have me drooling. Did I read you wrote a cookbook? How can I get one? You and Kris should do a CSC recipe book!



Rebecca said...

Jennifer, you are by no means "bringing the post down". It is soooo important to talk about what you're going through and not bottle it up. I highly suggest you and Brian go to marriage counseling. It's an invaluable tool for opening up the lines of communication. It's not just for a crisis situation either (although it sounds like you are in a crisis right now). It's a wonderful way to explore what's going on for you guys and most of the time what seems to be the issue (food in your case) is really a symptom of some other unconscious feelings that you will not discover without the guidance of a trained therapist. I'm sure you can find someone in your area with a google search.

Both you and your husband need to read In Defense of Food. Pollan says there is no one right diet. That most indigenous diets are extremely healthy when they include locally and naturally produced foods, meat included. Eating meat is not criminal to your body but should be eaten in moderation, as a condiment or side dish, not the 7 day a week, 3 meal a day standard we are used to. It's the modern western diet that is killing people with the overindulgence in processed foods. And that our culture has been seriously duped by FDA and USDA standards and corporate control over public health information. Your husband's family's tradition of eating wild meat that they hunted is a much better option than eating factory produced meat which has been genetically and chemically engineered. Pollan's message is so simple and your husband may really appreciate it if he gave it a chance. Treat yourself to a little gift and go buy it at your local book store.

Stay strong and follow your heart. It's your body and only you can decide what you put into it!

I urge you to try counseling.


clint said...


My heart goes out to you !

Food can bring people together, and sadly, it can also drive couples apart. Some people take it as a form of abandonment when you decide to eat a different diet.
(does your hubby have that kind of issue....maybe ?)

A few years back, when I was doing counseling (for people with canser and AIDS) a lot of the time, couples would come in, and sit in my office, and it was usually be the woman that was there for help.

With the guy sitting right beside her, I would turn to him, lean over and ask him (looking him right in the eye) ...

...."are you going to be able to be supportive of your wife in this "life style" change, and give her encouragement with the different foods she's eating ?"

Sometimes the look on their face was like I just asked them for a loan.

It was unchartered territory for them, and they felt insecure. Mainly insecure about feeling inadequate and about not knowing how they can help her, and even failing at it.
Most of the time though, they would commit to doing everything they could to "be there" for her.

Have you considered writng your hubby a letter (printed letter) and expressing how and why you need help from him ... never using the "you" word so he doesn't get on the defensive ?

Just a thought Jennifer,

Stay the course !

Hugz !



joyfuljude said...

Hi Brian!

It's so nice to meet you!

I'm 58 so was raised in the 50's and 60's. As most kids raised in that era, we ate supper after dad got home from work and had his bath. My mom was a from scratch cook as I am (I make my own spelt bread now :-). Mom's cooking was considered healthy for that time but veggies were canned and lettuce was Iceburg. Dad did grow a garden in the summer and we ate wonderful fresh produce.

My maternal grandmother was an excellent and from scratch cook as well. We drank un-pasteurized milk and even had cream on fruit.

After I married and we had 3 beautiful children, we moved to the country and had a HUGE garden with the dinner bell that I would ring for supper :-) In those days we ate lots of beef butchered from our own cows.

It wasn't until I was diagnosed with canSer that we really cleaned up our diets and that has been in the past 10 years. I'm an avid gardener and have never used chemicals and compost everything including the stuff in the back of the juicer :-)

BTW, we still have that dinner bell and I use it to call my husband if he's "back yonder" cutting firewood or whatever. As soon as I ring it, the ATV fires up and he's on his way :-)


granola said...

Hey Linda--I mean Goony--
I will move to Europe with you! How about Tuscany--always wanted to go there :) And unfortunately I haven't seen the movie you mentioned, I'll have to rent it!

Ok, so I personally think the Linda McCartney comment is a compliment :) Anyone who wants to call me that feel free LOL. Hey, at least he knows about Linda McCartney, and truly he was on target--think about it--
You are a strong, intelligent, vibrant, compassionate, woman. My advice is that you seek out your local health food store & find a vegan/vegetarian group for support. Internet is good, but there is nothing like having your own in-person posse. Or, better yet, enroll in a yoga class while hubby watches the kids--you are sure to find some like minded people there. I have a vegetarian posse at work, and that really helps! I was pleasantly surprised at how many people are into vegetarian eating--vegan and raw are just around the corner. It is the unfortunate reality that the loved ones in our lives my not be as joyous to open up to this lifestyle---so maybe you can encourage some "baby steps" (think "What about Bob" movie with Bill Murray & his "baby steps" LOL)--for example, whole wheat pasta, instead of regular (or better yet--Soba noodles--yum!)
Goony--I really hope that helps! Rock on & persevere! You are awesome!

To all who are going through scans,surgery, chemo, etc--you are in my thoughts and prayers--positive energy your way--I am always thinking of you as I read your entries in this blog.

OK-as for blog question--I think I ate too much white flour and trans fats to remember my childhood dinners :)

To all, keep spreading the compassion and positive energy-caring for yourselves, other beings & this planet. Your energy is contagious!

wyldegirl said...

Oh I love this post! Just as much as I adore Pollan's writing. . .and the comments were wonderful to wander through on a snowy afternoon, with a green juice next to me.

It IS entirely amazing (and frightening) where we've ended up in regards to food and nourishment and the subsequent relationships to them.

I've been raw for two years and in that time have had lots of conversations around these thoughts. . . and have heard all sorts of crazy food horror stories from my parents' generation. . . and have to applaud their bodies for persisting to keep them healthy through their childhoods of "normal" 50's and 60's foodstuff in upper middle class homes. I won't even begin to describe here what they've eaten as kids- mostly for my sake as my stomach will begin to churn!

But when my own parents got married, they began organic gardening, and my brother and I spent our idyllic childhoods planting seeds, watching them grow, feeding them all our food scraps turned into compost, eating the majority of our meals right in the garden rows throughout the summer days that were packed with love, laughter and light. . . the smells of fresh snap peas, dirt covered carrots, tomato seedlings started in the spring, and the soil after perfect rains. . .are all embedded in my memory.

The acres of blueberries my great aunt and uncle had at their summer cottage that we'd fill baskets full of to turn into enough jam to last the winter and give away, the nearby organic strawberry farms that we'd pick all day long at for the same uses as the blueberries. . . and then the traditional treat of fresh strawberry shortcake for dinner (from scratch of course!). . . all of this became a part of my growth as a contributing member of society, because I grew up in the garden and therefore understood our delicate and interwoven relationship to plants and food. . .

I am saddened by any child that doesn't have this experience, but hopeful that a new revolution is picking up more and more support as it progresses with literature, and outreach programs, urban gardens and school-based initiatives. . . my local food co-op is carrying winter produce that is grown by the middle school kids and it is fairly glowing, and therefore my green juices (and me) begin to glow as well!

As scary and artificial and faraway from real food as things have become (what is that statistic about "new foods" grown in laboratories composing most of the standard american diet now? I shudder to think.). . . there is hope.
I can feel it in the words posted here, and the waves of books, articles, networks, NGO's. . . "it's all happening" (to quote from the poignantly sweet Almost Famous). . . and I'm honored to be along for the journey.

x Jenny

debbiedoesraw said...

I am so sorry to hear about that.. sounds very difficult for you.. and for him in a different way. Big hugs and kisses to you..hang in there the best you can.

I cook dinner each night too...not for me, for the rest of the family. How many of us are doing double duty?

Dee said...

Kris- You're making me blush, and then go 'HELL YEAH!' and do a Dick Van Dyke style jump and kick in the air, clicking my heels in the air.

My CSC crew- To those questioning the soda over tea, like the Ginger Beer I mentioned, the reason I use that brand is because they don't PUT sugar in it, they use fruit juice to sweeten it. So yes, there is sugar from the fruit, but it's a small amount, completely natural. Considering I don't have any sugar from anything what so ever, ever. The tiny amount in the Ginger Beer once a week really won't kill me. It's incredibly strong, and incredibly potent because of the 17 grams of ginger which is the exact and total point. For me personally, when I'm incredibly nauseas, having one of the days where I am making out with my toliet constantly, the last thing I want to do is drink hot liquid. Insert ice cold ginger beer (that works wonders) here.

Tea is fantastic too, don't get me wrong. But I refuse to limit my options. I would hate to be burning up and feeling miserable and know that the only thing that really calms my stomach down is a HOT drink. That just makes me feel more uncomfortable! Life's about options!

The nut butter is a good idea too, I slice avocado on top of raw almond butter on some sprouted grain bread before med times a lot as well, it's pretty good. You just need to figure out what works for you and go for it. Sweet potatoes are amazingly wonderful as well.

I'm so intrigued to hear/read all of your replies because like I said in mine...I grew up so completley different from every one, I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that you in the States you have to actually SEARCH for natural food. The United States is pretty much the most powerful, intelligent country in the world and yet the most unhealthy. It baffles me to be honest.

Jenny! I am so glad to see you posting here, and the fact that you quoted 'Almost Famous' just solidifies what I already know about you love. You are a gorgeous, fiery, organic spirit and I love that we 'met'.

Cheryl said...

Hi Brian,

Good to hear from you!

I have always been a bit suspicious of all the "health" claims on packaged foods. "Includes Omega 3's" and "Fiber Rich," just made me nervous as to how exactly this stuff was added to the box/carton/package. I think it is very easy to fool oneself into thinking she is eating in a "healthy" way and buy into the hype.

What is it about controlling fathers at dinners? I grew up in the 60's and 70's and we had dinner every night at 5:30. You had to eat everything on your plate, or you just sat there until you were done, or Mom took pity on you. The menu each week was predictable: Sunday: roast beef, mashed potatoes, some frozen or canned vegetable. Pudding or fruit cocktail for dessert
Monday: Leftovers from Sunday
Tuesday: Shake and Bake chicken, white rice, some frozen or canned vegetable
Wednesday: Meat Loaf, more potatoes, more frozen or canned vegetables
Thursday: Leftovers from Wed.
Friday: Mac and cheese
Saturday: Hot dogs and beans
Obviously, very meat heavy, with nary a fresh vegetable or fruit in sight. And meal time was torturous.
I am 3 children; 2 of whom are away at college. Our mealtimes are very relaxed and I never even insisted on sit down dinners when they were younger, just because of my negative experiences with them. Our eating has evolved over the years: on his own, my oldest eats almost all raw, with some cooked grains. My middle child also chows down the fresh fruit and veggies and the occasional piece of poultry. The youngest is the most meat-heavy: he seems to crave it. But he also eats lots of raw veggies and fruits. we are all works in progress.
I must admit, when I want comfort food I go for the mashed potatoes.
Looking forward to reading the rest of the book!


Michelle J said...

Brian dude, nice to meet you and read your most interesting thoughts!

All i can say is WOW, lots of interesting stories here and you know while they are all very different, they are all very similar as well. I grew up in a jewish household. We too ate at 6pm every evening. In those days schmaltz was used quite a bit. In case you do not know what that is:
schmaltz is rendered pig, chicken, or goose fat used for frying or as a spread on bread in German cuisine. In Jewish cuisine schmaltz was rendered from a kosher slaughtered chicken or goose. As bad as it sounds (and believe me its bad) the stuff fried in it was actually quite tasty. What gets me is this stuff is sold in kosher butchers even today and people buy the stuff. Crazy! So, also we had a lot of pickled fish, pickled salmon (lox), sable, whitefish and herring. Pot roasts, briskets, potatoes, stuffings, lots of chicken, hardly any grains or whole wheat. White bread, challah, bagels, bialys! I was a chubby little girl and so i vowed not to grow into a chubby woman. Luckily, i found Kris Carr and raw eating. And i say luckily because i truly believe it saved me from becoming a product of my upbringing. Sure, i miss a fresh hot bagel but you know those cravings are becoming less and less! Today, i am trying very hard to help my mom eat much more healthy and she is very open to it all. She has CLL (cronic lymphocytic leukemia) same as Deb and i want her around a long time. So, i'm off to amazon to order In defense of Food. Thanks guys!!!

Sandra Joseph said...

Hey, Brian! Great post. Thank you for opening up this delicious discussion.
Callie, you are a chef?! I can't wait to get down there to your retreat and sample some of your raw vittles! Your post had myh mouth watering.
Dee, I am most jealous of you, bella! I'm in awe of your Italian fresh food upbringing. YUM!
I was raised total SAD. Breakfast was a combo of Frankenberry and Lucky Charms (sometimes topped with Cool Whip!), lunch was a wonder bread sandwich, and dinner was iceberg, canned veg, and some kind of meat. My mother hated cooking. The best thing that ever happened to my food life was moving to New York. My first roommate was a vegetarian and he shared his yummy dinners with me; sundried tomato cous-cous with fresh broccoli, salads with dark greens and olive oil, properly cooked vegetables of all kinds. I started reading books on health and gradually became a veg myself. Now, I'm working toward raw vegan and loving it.
My family thinks I'm a bit "out there" with my eating habits. It's hard when you've spent a lot of time educating yourself about nutrition not to want to share it with the people you love. I believe that if my dad had really been able to change his eating habits, he could have reversed his heart disease and he'd still be here. But, as Kris says, the only time you can change someone is when they're in diapers. I'd rather have my dad still with me, but it does give me some peace knowing that he enjoyed his life -and his food-immensely. This path is not for everyone. My husband tolerates my ever-evolving way of eating with great humor. I doubt he will ever give up meat, but he knows that eating the way I do makes me feel better.
Goony, I love me some Shirley Valentine but what I'd love more is for your Brian to have a change of heart. I think people see the healthy changes we are making and it pokes at their own fears. Though he makes fun of what you're doing, he probably feels on some level that he should be making some changes as well. I agree that couples therapy might make him see that you are doing what is right for you, not trying to convert or change him. Hang in there, girl.
I'm enjoying the book and looking forward to the continued discussion.

me said...

Dear Kris,
I am not a cancer cowgirl, but instead am a cancer cowgirl's best friend.

Until I found your stuff, I truly did not emotionally understand that there is another way when you are faced with dismal statistics. I began planning for my friend's death on the day of her diagnosis (Stage IV alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma).

I am planning now for her life instead, and mine too, thanks to you and yours.

I am most inspired by your writings about 'managing' rather than curing cancer and preparing for scan days.

Thank you!

clint said...

Hi Brian,

Nice to finally meet you, thanks for a great post . . . and making people think about childhood, heritage and how we've evolved with food.

One of the stark memories I have growing up was that of frozen vegetables on our plate when I was 9 years old, and looking at gray Asparagus, and trying to figure out how something SO knarley could be good for you.

When I hear of Dee's, Braintumorsurvivor and joyfuljude's childhood food experience's, I get envious. What a great memory to have for your childhood eating experiences.

I can remember numerous times at the dinner table, asking permission to go to the bathroom, and when given a yes... unloading most of the Brussel sprouts out of my pants pocket, into the commode. (making sure to flush of course ;-)

Other times, I'd act like I was seeing something exciting in the window behind my sister, out on the street.. and when she'd turn around to look, quickly dump some of the vegetables onto her plate...and watch her eat them.

When the Hypoglycemia craze hit, we changed our diets radically.. and things became more 'conscious' at the dinner table... thank God.

Glad to see you re-surfaced Sandra...



Cravin' Veggies said...

Just want to say how much I am loving this book!! Last paragraph, page 28 actually made me laugh out loud. But, seriously, how true is that analogy??

Dee.. just caught up on your blog (haven't read it in a few weeks). I tried to comment, but it wouldn't let me login... it kind of just kept refreshing the screen. Love your list! Can't relate to the Louboutins (maybe someday *wink,wink*), but definitely connect with most of the rest!!

Debbie... same thing happened to me at the library! WTH?? I just went out and bought it. Seems like a book I will refer back to often ayway.


abbymaya said...

Your dinner table story was extremely familiar - we even had a bell but my Mom just whistled through her fingers, it was much louder!

We came from the mid-west so everything was meat and potatoes with canned veggies. Friday was junk food night and the one night we could eat in front of the TV (very exciting!). It was the same with my grandparents, although they did have a huge garden that we would pick veggies from in the summer.

I hadn't realized how hard that cycle was to break for my husband and I but he did buy a juicer today and is joining in the healthier lifestyle now. I'm off to start reading since I just got my book yesterday.

Thanks to all of you who are lovely beautiful souls for sharing and being such a warm place to be and share.

goony said...

Thank you all for your advice. I decided to go to Borders Books and purchase the new book. While I was there I got a big ole cup of tea, and sat down and wrote a 5 page letter to my Brian. (Thanks Clint) Now I just have to get the nerve to give it to him. Clint, can you councel us! LOL Seems like you have had many cool jobs. Marriage counceling is probably and sadly very much needed. I have changed a lot and he is still the same person. So I guess everything is really my fault.

Sandra, Hello Wall, how are you today! LOL. Teeheehee. I love Shirley Valentine too.

Jennifer (Linda) (Goony)

Dr.Sue said...

Hi Brian,
It's great to hear from you. You & Kris are the Dynamic Duo!
I grew up in the 60's & 70's & my Mom stayed at home when I was growing up. I was the only child at home from my memory. My sister & brother are 15 & 20 years older.
My mom was kind of a "health nut".
We rarely had soda, desserts, or junk food. She always made every meal, nothing fancy, nothing organic either, no garden in the back yard. I remember Grape Nuts cereal or cornflakes with wheat germ. She had me bring my lunch to school almost everyday,nothing special. Sandwich-PB&J, braunschweiger (like a spreadable bologna)apple or orange or banana,carrots or celery,raisins. She did make cookies, oatmeal & raisin & sometimes added chocolate chips, but hardly any. My friends had junk at their house, I was jealous. I had to take a spoonful of cod liver oil, which I did NOT like, also a handful of vitamins. I remember we had powdered milk that she would mix with whole milk, later years we had 2%. We exercised to Jack Lalane on TV in the morning, I think he's 90 now as is my Mom, though she's not pulling boats in the water by a rope with her teeth like he did not too many years ago! :)
Dinner was usually chicken or hamburger, sometimes roast beef, white rice or potato, & cooked vegetables, soups,some homemade, sometimes Campbell's, tuna noodle casseroles.We ate iceberg lettuce & french dressing. We had cantelope, not watermelon.I loved peas, didn't much like lima beans or corn. Mom made me eat liver once a week, Yuck, I never liked it. Also, I had to eat everything on my plate. That was a mom thing, not a dad thing. Once in a while I'd get vanilla ice
cream with Hersey's chocolate syrup-not too much! That was a real treat. I do remember sometimes having a TV dinner & I thought that was cool. We never went out to dinner. When I was an older teenager, I loved going to McDonald's on Friday nights with my friends, big excitement!
My mom, dad & I always ate dinner together until I was older & involved in after school sports & had a big evening paper route, but she always warmed up dinner for me when I came home. I did virtually no cooking growing up. I didn't have a desire to cut up chickens or stuff turkeys,no wonder I became a vegetarian!
Looking forward to your next post.

Jessica said...

Hi Kris and Brian! I've been a lurker for months and am very interested in the topics that you all discuss. I was recently reading up on a drink called Kombucha Tea and was wondering what your thoughts were? Is it recommended in your raw lifestyle? I would appreciate any information or advice on this interesting drink. Thanks so much and hope that Kris returns from her trip safely. Peace, Love, Dove...Jessica

Anne said...

Ha! Clint, I remember those trips to the bathroom, too. I once threw out a hot dog while "going to the bathroom." Only I wasn't wise enough to flush it; I shoved it in the trash can wrapped in a napkin. Got busted a couple hours later when the cat went in there, fished it out, and came out and started devouring it on the floor in front of my parents.

Can you believe that back then we got in trouble for not eating our HOT DOGS?!

Goony, my hubby isn't really on board with all of this, and he makes a little fun of me, too. Not in a threatened way, but in a way that makes me feel self-conscious sometimes. "Is this MEAT?" he'll say with mock shock, if I make him a turkey sandwich to go along with a huge salad. I haven't even told him that I follow raw food or healthy eating websites, and I've not told him about posting here. He would wonder why on earth his wife, who doesn't have cancer, is e-hanging out on a "cancer blog." If I were to try and explain it, he'd look at me funny and say, "OK, honey, whatever you want to do." Much like he did when I brought home my $350 Vitamix, and a year later, my $200 Omega juicer. It's hard to explain, but I feel like I don't need his support or permission for everything I do. Eating this way, and coming here to this site, makes me feel good. He wouldn't want to discuss raw food or In Defense of Food with me; he's got other things he'd rather talk about in his spare time. He doesn't care that much about food. He'll eat whatever's laid in front of him without complaining, so I just quietly make vegan dinners and huge salads most of the time and he eats them because his other choice is to make his own damn dinner. And this goes both ways: He's got things he does that I'm not part of that make him happy; things that I don't necessarily want to hear about night and day. We're very close, and have plenty of common interests that we're passionate about together, but we're also separate people. It took me a long time to be okay with our having some separate interests, but now I love that about our marriage. If he wants to go off and scuba dive for a weekend, fine; I don't have to go. If I want to go off and attend an organic farming event, fine; he can stay home. We're both capable of being independent and having some separate passions. That said, sometimes he asks if I'll make enough green juice for him to have one, too. He likes them.

So I guess it works because we don't begrudge each other those separate interests. He's not interested in what I'm doing foodwise, but he's not resentful or threatened by it. Your Brian sounds like he finds it threatening. Kind of like those guys you hear about who get all insecure when their wives lose a lot of weight. Surely he remembers how miserable you were before you embarked on this lifestyle; I guess I would second the suggestion to write a heartfelt letter. Don't try and bring him along, but appeal to him on the level that you need him to be supportive of how important it is to you to feel better.

In terms of feeding this family, I'm totally doing double duty. More than that, really. Our schedules are such these days that my daughters (8 and 11) eat with me, and my husband eats dinner late at night before he goes to work (graveyard shift). Two nights a week, we all eat together. I'm doing the high raw vegan thing; he claims to starve on that when he works all night, so I make him something additional; my one daughter eats lots of what I eat and lots of the additional thing I make for him, then my oldest daughter eats some kind of starch and meat or cheese. (No veggies or fruits in her whole life. Refuses. Would, truthfully, starve first. Long story, somehow related to a sensory thing, and a problem I'd love to solve.) All this variety requires lots of time in the kitchen, but I also get a lot of help from the rest of the family. I make something extra for my husband at 10 o'clock at night because he goes so short on sleep with this night shift, especially on the days that I go to work during the day, that it's part of our teamwork arrangement. We need him to be able to get up as late as possible, eat and go to work. If he had to get up an hour earlier to prepare his dinner, too, his sleep cycle would be only 3 hours instead of 4 some days. He's desperately sleep-deprived on the days that I go to work. But we've been doing this for 10 years, so we've got the schedule down to a science so we can always have someone home with our girls when they're home.

Callie, I loved learning about your food history.

clint said...

Wow Anne... too funny ! Sorry you got busted, especially when your pets blow your cover like that....tough one.

We still ate a lot better than our neighbors did. We grew up beside a family that had 3 boys, and their diet was atrocious. By that, I am talking about:

1. Honey on their Hotdogs ...
2. Sprinkling sugar on their Macaroni...
3. and putting strawberry jam on their

They grew up almost recognizable as humans, with the odd disease along the way, considering their 'tasty' nutritious diet.

We lived in the city, but with them close by, it was like living in a land where "Men were men, and Sheep are nervous" . . .(if you get my drift) and made our evening meals, and my gray Asparagus slightly more edible.


Anne said...

Sheep are nervous? Ewwwwww. Those neighbors of yours, Clint . . .

Goony, so glad you wrote the letter. I know for me, whenever I feel the need to ask for my husband's support or to tell him I'm offended by the way he's relating to me, it's important that I not try and talk him into changing anything except the way he's treating me. That way I can hang it all on myself and my feelings, without being critical of anything he may be doing to himself or others. I may tell my husband to quit making insensitive wisecracks about my green smoothies in front of the girls because it's pissing me off and suggesting to them that eating healthfully is stupid, and he'll stop making the wisecracks out of respect for me. But if I were add that he really needs to get on board with having these green smoothies with me, and to quit drinking that acidifying coffee he's addicted to, he'd be more likely to feel threatened and dig in his heels. (He likes the green juices, but the green smoothies gross him out.)

I know it can be hard on a relationship when one partner quits something for their own good. My husband quit drinking 10 years ago. By the time he quit, it was clear he was an alcoholic and he'd be dead now if he hadn't quit. But in the couple years before his sobriety date, he tried quitting many times. We used to drink every single night--it was a big part of our socializing and our relationship--and when he first tried to quit, before I was really aware of the depth of his drinking problem, I felt threatened and lonely. I was angry that he couldn't just drink like a normal person and share a bottle of wine with me with dinner. I worried that he thought he was better than I, now that he didn't drink at all and I still liked to drink some. Our relationship felt off-kilter and strange, and I felt like it was all his fault.

I hope you muster the nerve to share your feelings with Brian. If nothing else, he needs to know he's hurting your feelings and making you feel distant, because he really may not want that, and your letter might really get his attention.

Barbara said...

Wish I had time to do the book club! Maybe after I finish school I can catch up!

just t said...


MoreJoy said...

Dr. Sue... I believe we had the same diet growing up and I also had the fried bologna sandwich thrown into that mix.

Oh, and the Flintstone vitamins to make it all better. What were we thinking?

Joy :)

Bueller said...

It's wonderful to read your post Brian. Kris is one lucky girl. I am also looking forward to reading everyone's stories. I haven't yet received the book but when I do I will be ready to chime in!


Mary a.k.a. MHC said...

I have a 27cm wound but am canser free. Plan to stay that way with a diet change.mary

apoopslingingmonkey said...

Hi Brian!! Very cool post!! I'm looking forward from more :)
Growing up I feel I was a lucky kid, we always ate loads of fruits and veggies...We had chicken or fish, or a 'meat' on the plate every night (mostly chicken), with a starch,like a potato, a yam,corn etc., and alot of veggies lol... and then A 'dessert' (which was a small thing like a single cookie, or a pudding cup , scoop of ice cream etc)...looking back though I'd have to say overall my grandparents did an awesome job of teaching us the importance of lots of fruits and veggies, a low sugar diet, also no soda allowed (I hated that part as a kid lol)
Most of my friends grew up on frozen food dinners, fast food and tons of sweets and deserts... not our house, we ate dinner every night at the table as a family, with a pretty healthy meal.