Tag Archives: food

Couch Potato Curse: Where’s the real danger?

Copyright JC Politi Photography

Copyright JC Politi Photography

I try to eat well. I know that I should exercise, and I frequently do, although certainly not as often as I should. I don’t smoke and I know that being around people who smoke is harmful. But toxic chemicals coming from my couch? That is a little more than my brain can digest.

Two articles in the New York Times this week (Eat Like a Mennonite and  Warnings from a Flabby Mouse) give me pause. They both reference endocrine inhibiters, whatever in the world those are.

Apparently, these are chemicals that can mimic or disrupt hormones and, while the science is still evolving in this area, these chemicals appear to be closely linked to several cancers.

We are always hearing about new things that are bad for us – and frequently, those things have become fundamental aspects of our modern culture.

If it turns out that plastics really are bad for us, just think of all of the things we use every day without even thinking about it that are made from just this material. It boggles the mind.

And then they talk about things like toxins emanating from car interiors, and shampoos, and couches, and cosmetics. It is exhausting.

I live in Colorado. It is unbearably dry here and I have a lotion and some sort of lip product in extensive use at all times. Is this dangerous? And does that mean sunscreen is dangerous? Which is worse for me – wearing sunscreen or not wearing sunscreen?

I don’t have children and can’t imagine trying to work through all of this to make sure one is doing the best one can for a child -just trying to navigate these waters for myself is overwhelming. I know my new year’s resolution is to let it be – and I am trying to do that. But I hope that there are some smart grownups somewhere in some agency who are helping make sure that my chapstick is not killing me.

Suzie chapstick always looked pretty healthy to me, but does anyone know where she is now????

What do you think? How do you navigate all of the health information that comes your way, especially about things that are non-food related? Does any of this worry you? Have you taken any steps to change your eating habits or other lifestyle choices because of this type of information?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!

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Filed under Culture, Environment, Fitness, Food, Health, Parenting, Role of Government

Giving Thanks

 

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Thanksgiving is my very favorite holiday. What is better than a holiday with no presents, but with lots of food, family and friends?

My favorite part of Thanksgiving – aside from the mashed potatoes, which we have discussed here at length – is setting aside a day to think about all the things I am thankful for.

It is so easy to get caught up in daily life and to forget what I have and how fortunate I am.

This year, I am thankful for so many things, among them:

All of you – I had no idea when I started blogging that I would find such a supportive, funny and inspiring community. Thank you for all the comments, kudos and encouragement.

My family – it is hard to be away from Baltimore at this time of year, but I am fortunate that my mom comes out to visit and my husband cooks a fantastic dinner – how can I not be thankful about that?

The birthday boy
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My two year old pup, who actually turns two years old on Thursday and thinks everyone celebrates his birthday with a big feast! I have been looking forward to the maturity of two and we are finally here. Now, I will look forward to the further sophistication of three.

My friends, who know how to make me laugh until I cry. I exhale completely when I am with my closest friends.

My colleagues, who have dedicated their lives to helping low income families and vulnerable children and who inspire me on a daily basis with their passion, their dedication and their vision.

Simply to have a warm house to live in, food to eat and people to love.

Sometimes it is good to take a moment and just reflect on all the things that are good in life.

What do you think? What are you most grateful for this year? What are your Thanksgiving traditions?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading.

Have a happy and safe holiday. And for a little Turkey-based levity:

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Filed under Blogging, Colorado, Culture, Food, Home, Love

Homemade Twinkies? Is someone really going to make those?

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The second most read New York Times article right now (after a cool interactive tool that will help you plan your Thanksgiving meal) is a recipe for homemade Twinkies.

While I feel as sad about the news that Hostess is folding as anyone, I am intrigued that there has been such a national outcry about this. And I am more intrigued that anyone would want to make homemade Twinkies.

I find it very interesting how food is linked to our emotions in this country – perhaps in every country.

I have to admit – I believe I have shared this here before – when my sweet gentle giant of a pup passed away in 2010 while I was in Argentina, I had an undeniable craving to head straight to McDonalds and get some salty french fries. They tasted like home to me and I needed that.

I suppose that the multi-national corporations who tempt us with ever bigger portions and even more fat-laden options are well aware of this connection, and in fact work hard every day to make that type of link with their products. It is a powerful force.

But Twinkies? I have to admit to being a little pleased – I know this will be seen as blasphemy by many – that Hostess has struggled. I am not sure that there is a speck of nutritional value in a single one of their products. (Feel free to correct me if I am wrong – it has happened before and will likely happen again).

I am sorry about the lost jobs and I will miss having that guilty pleasure calling out to me from the convenience store when I am on a road trip. But maybe now that I won’t have that temptation, I will actually reach for a piece of fruit or a string cheese instead. Ya think?

What do you think? How do you feel about the liquidation of Hostess? What is your favorite Hostess product? Why do you think people are so distressed that Hostess is going out of business? And what impact do you think the amotional food connection has had on our waistlines and on our pocketbooks?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!

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Filed under Culture, Food, Health

Travel Theme: Bright

Ailsa, at Where’s My Backpack, has issued a fun travel theme this week: bright. I happen to love taking photos of bright colors and am excited to share a few of my favorites here.

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Fall in Colorado

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More Fall Colors

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Joan Miro Sculpture, Barcelona

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A Taste of Summer

What do you think? What is your favorite bright thing to photograph? What is something that, when you see it, automatically brightens your day?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!

Other Interpretations on the Theme:
http://goomfh.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/travel-theme-bright-2/
http://esengasvoice.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/travel-theme-bright/
http://managuagunntoday.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/travel-theme-bright/
http://ledrakenoir.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/travel-theme-bright/
http://windagainstcurrent.com/2012/11/02/travel-theme-bright/
http://sheladyanne.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/travel-theme-brights/
http://juliedawnfox.com/2012/11/02/travel-theme-bright-shiny-portugal/
http://theeclecticeccentricshopaholic.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/travel-theme-bright/
http://annarashbrook.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/travel-theme-bright/
http://lucidgypsy.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/travel-theme-bright/
http://kattermonran.com/2012/11/02/travel-theme-bright/
http://imissmetoo.me/2012/11/02/2145/
http://patriciaddrury.com/2012/11/02/travel-theme-bright/
http://beyondpaisley.net/2012/11/02/travel-theme-bright/
http://the-serenity-space.com/2012/11/03/travel-theme-bright/
http://etolbagam.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/travel-theme-bright/
http://learning2hear.com/2012/11/02/travel-theme-bright/
http://shaanthz.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/travel-theme-bright/
http://francineinretirement.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/travel-theme-bright/
http://photovignettes.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/travel-theme-bright/
http://theretiringsort.com/2012/11/02/big-bright-fireworks/
http://artifactsandfictions.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/bright/
http://quotidianhudsonriver.com/2012/11/02/11-2-12-travel-theme-bright/
http://seamlessstyle.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/weekly-travel-theme-brights/

 

 

 

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Filed under Art, Colorado, Environment, Food, Photography, Photos, Travel Challenge

Photo Friday: Frankfurt

The European Central Bank – I like the reflection of the historic building in the windows
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We arrived in Frankfurt by train from Berlin bright and early. We thought this would just be a quick stop on our way to the airport.

We were exhausted from all of our adventures, so we thought we would finally step foot on a tour bus for the first time this trip. We realized that we had not been in a car during the entire journey! How refreshing!

We took the train from our hotel near the airport, to the main train station, with the idea of hopping on a tourist bus. But when we got to the tourist information center, the woman informed us that Frankfurt is small enough to walk.

So, we set out on foot to explore the city. And we loved it!

We were too tired to go into any actual museums or anything, so we spent the day like locals.

We ate bratwurst from a stand outside the train station, walked through the city taking in the mix of old and new, ate pastries by the river, and finished the day in a residential neighborhood with one of the most authentic meals we had the entire trip.

The Bratwurst stand outside the train station where we had lunch
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We did not consult a guide book for the first time in weeks, and just enjoyed exploring the city without plans or agenda. It was decadent.

What struck me most about Frankfurt was the contrast of history and progress. Castles stand side by side on the same street with sky scrapers.

An Occupy Frankfurt demonstration outside the Central European Bank illustrated the ongoing debate about the European Union and Germany’s role in the Union.

It was delightful to experience the city without feeling like tourists. My favorite part had to be simply sitting outside in a residential area we discovered and watching the world go by. I hope we get to return and do more of that.

I feel so fortunate to have been able to take this trip. It was an extraordinary opportunity to visit places with such rich history. The museums and cafes and food and lifestyle were simply seductive. I must go back.

But for now, I will have to survive by looking back at some of my favorite photos. Here are my favorites from Frankfurt.

Castles next to skyscrapers – A great reminder that we don’t have to tear down the old to make way for the new
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The Occupy Frankfurt demonstration
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A cafe outside the Opera House
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One of the signs from the Occupy Frankfurt demonstration. I don’t know what it says, but I figure that anything with Millionaire and Democratic on the same sign is probably something I would be interested in
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The view across the river
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The Beer Garden where we had our last meal in Europe. It was a charming neighborhood restaurant where everyone knew each other. Such a perfect ending!
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Flowers from a neighborhood shop
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What do you think? Have you ever been on a trip and just decided to skip all of the tourist attractions and live like a local? When and where? What was that like? If not, does that sound like something that appeals to you or do you feel like if you are going to go somewhere, you have to see the most famous destinations in that location?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading.      

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Filed under Architecture, Art, Business, Culture, Economy, Food, History, International, Photography, Photos, Policy, Politcs, Role of Government, Technology, travel

Hunger Knows No Borders: Poverty at Home and Abroad

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There is an article in the New York Times this week about the increasing number of people living in poverty in Spain.

The article references the fact that the unemployment rate in Spain is over 50% for young people and that over 20% of families in Spain live in poverty. It tells the stories of people who find themselves forced to search for food in trash bins in order to feed themselves and their families.

It is striking to read about how dire the situation is in Spain right now, especially after having just visited the country. We were blown away by the food and the beauty, but this article makes it clear that there is another, much more tragic, story to be told.

As I read this article, I felt like I was reading about the United States. The article spoke of people who had never been on government assistance who are now accessing food pantries or searching through dumpsters for food.

So frequently, we read an article like this and look at it as an interesting, but sad anecdote from a foreign land. But the truth is, we can see the same thing here in our own back yards every day.

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The recession has had far-reaching implications across the globe. The number of people in the United States who are accessing public benefits has sky-rocketed.

Some people complain about the number of people who are accessing government assistance, including food assistance. I don’t understand this.

If jobs are not available and people are hungry, why would we not be grateful to live in a society where people who have hit rock bottom have a place to go to feed themselves and their children? How can we be so sure that we will not be the next family to come upon hard times, through a loss of a job or through a medical emergency that leaves us financially devastated?

I am honestly baffled and saddened by the lack of compassion in much of the United States during these difficult economic times.

What do you think? Why do you think people are so critical of government efforts to support low-income families? Why do you think people are so quick to judge families who have come upon hard times? How can people be so sure that they will not be the next person to need a little help? And how can we reduce the stigma associated with accepting government assistance so that more people can have a bridge to survive their current hardship in the hopes of eventually getting a job and escaping poverty?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!

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Filed under Culture, Economy, Ethics, Health, Income inequality, International, Photography, Photos, Policy, Politcs, Poverty, Relationships, Role of Government, Stereotypes, travel

Travel Theme: Food

Where’s My Backpack’s Travel Theme this week is – one of my favorite things – food! So, without further delay, here are some of my favorite food photos:

 

Home, sweet home

With my Dad
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Patagonia, Argentina
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Handmade Pasta: Buenos Aires, Argentina
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An unbelievable, but typical dispay of meats in Buenos Aires
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El Cuartito Pizza, Buenos Aires aka the best pizza in the world!
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Remote Village in Nicaragua

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Local Bakers in remote Nicaraguan Village
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Copyrght JC Politi Photography

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Filed under Culture, Food, International, Photography, Photos, travel