Monday, September 30, 2013

Sugar, fat, salt...

I just finished reading Sugar, Fat, Salt: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss and it pissed me off. It also amazed me to learn how much sugar, fat or salt, or all three are in most processed foods.

It’s not really a problem for Dave and me. We both enjoy cooking. Dave bakes our whole wheat bread and granola, and ferments our yogurt, wine and beer. I create dinners and salads from fruits and vegetables we harvest fresh from the garden for two to four months of the year and and from fruit and vegetables home canned or frozen the rest of the year. We eat meat that we raise ourselves. We steal honey from our bees and concentrate maple syrup from our trees. I buy staples - eggs, flour, cheese and milk, but rarely anything processed.

Most people don’t have the luxury of living on a farm. Many people have jobs that restrict their free time and energy and thus limit the amount of creative cooking that they do. However, I’m not a fancy cook and most of our evening meals take me half an hour or less to prepare.

Moss accuses the major food corporations of carefully adjusting the amounts of sugar, fat, and salt to make their processed foods close to addictive, and then using subtle and not so subtle advertising to persuade people into not only eating the processed food, but also eating more than our bodies need or than is healthy. Dave and I don’t watch much television and so miss out on that seductive advertising.

Moss puts the blame for the growing obesity epidemic in America on the food companies. Dave and I are fortunate that we have access to real, healthy food, an interest in preparing it, and time set aside in our days to cook and thus control the amount of sugar, fat and salt that we consume.

Monday, September 16, 2013


Dave spent a lot of time in the last ten days using a compass to figure out what direction we were going so that he could navigate through the lakes and rivers, bays and islands of Quetico Provincial Park, Canada. Our yearly canoe trip helps us reset our internal compasses, and figure out what’s important in our lives.

We come out of the wilderness a little behind on our to-do lists (we have been gone for 10 days after all) but clearer on the direction we want our lives to be moving. We talk about personal goals, about personal time commitments. We talk about how one person’s time commitments can interfere with the other person’s goals, and vice versa. We talk about needs and wants.

The waters of the lakes through which we paddle are much more lucid than our conversations, but in the end, after depending on each other for everything, we find our understanding of each other clearer and the directions we anticipate our lives taking in the coming year more closely aligned.