Saturday, April 10, 2010

Food Revolution and Consumption Revelation

Not long after my last post I spun into a very helpless and hopeless place: I was overcome with lethargy, brain pain and an inability to get myself through a shopping trip. How long after the blog, you ask? Well, I took my shower, got dressed, finished making my list, waited for my husband (who would be driving me, of course) and when I saw he was gathering his things to go, I grabbed my shoes, put one on, started to tie it and - WHOA... that was it. I needed to go to bed. It was very upsetting for so many reasons, not the least of which being that my health seemed to be impeding me from doing good for my health! Anyway, it was finally enough for me to say I need to see my neurologist again and, by some miracle, I got an appointment for the next day, Tuesday.

My Consumption Revelation
Here's the consumption revelation, thanks to my neurologist: I have been severely lacking in potassium. I forgot that she was the one that prescribed the potassium pill to me in June of last year. I stopped taking it in August because it scared the heck out of me! I started reading all about the side effects of too much potassium (ie. potassium is used in the "lethal injections" for the death penalty), but never bothered to read the side effects of too little (almost everything I have been feeling in the last couple of weeks/months!). I thought I was smart enough to handle this one on my own with bananas and V8 juice, but there was no way to keep up. I started taking the potassium pill again on Thursday and the difference in my energy level alone was palpable - not only by me, but also by those around me.

This one particular revelation has me wondering if I should seek a nutritionist's advice about my food choices, since I am so heavily medicated, however, I fear a person who will simply hand me a pile of vitamin supplements rather than tell me what foods I should be seeking. It is a developing thought in my mind right now... it needs time, further research and advisement from others, before I will feel confident enough to act on it.

For now, I want to work with food.

Food Revolutions each Friday
Fridays are becoming a great day for food reflection for me, since I end off each Friday night watching Jaime Oliver's Food Revolution. I love this show, if, for no other reason, than the validation of my own thoughts. I am not crazy: many constructs in this country have been built up to work against us.

I have seen, first hand, the cafeteria food offered to our own students and wondered why children would be offered this food. I teach in New York City where, a number of years ago, the mayor declared that there would be no more soda sold to our students in schools - I thought, "This is an awesome move. I am proud to be a part of this," and the soda machines moved out. However, a huge contract was signed and the soda machines were replaced with Snapple machines (Snapple In NYC schools)!

How is this better? Yes, bottled water is an option, but the rest is sugar water. I remember asking, years ago about the cafeteria food and learning about the rules that keep binding Jamie up in Huntington, WV. It is, in short, heart-breaking... and, when educated people start really learning about what is going on it will then be seen for what it really is: criminal.

My Own Elementary Food Learning
I never took home economics. I went to catholic school and that was not part of the curriculum. However, my mother, my grandmother and even my grandfather (who barely ever cooked!) all took the time to teach me about food. In fact, wow, I didn't even realize this until just typing this now, but my last conversation with my father before he died was about cooking. The last words I ever spoke to him were, "Thank you," for the mini-lesson he gave me on cooking fried pizza (OK, OK not the healthiest recipe ever!), before meeting his regular Wednesday-night poker crew on Thanksgiving Eve in 1988.

My point is this: food was a very serious part of my at home curriculum - my mother would cook as if she were running her own cooking show in the kitchen hoping that we were always listening. My grandmother took me grocery shopping with her in Brooklyn when I was in grade school - I remember her teaching me about the difference between a male and female eggplant. I remember my grandfather, on a similar trip showing me how to pick out a good ear of corn by poking my nail in a kernel to see if it squirts out "milk." I remember being so happy coming home to my mother after these trips anxious to share what I learned.

Are these learning moments no longer available to children? Were these things taught in Home Economics? If parents, grandparents and other family members are not up to the task - isn't it our schools' responsibility to do so? Last night, on Food Revolution, one of the politicians said something like, " (I am pretty sure I do not have down exactly...) We've taught them to read and write, now we'll teach them how to be healthy." I was so taken a-back by this statement - isn't it completely backwards? And do not get me wrong, I value a good education (I am teacher for goodness sakes!), but doesn't health come first? The gentleman was all smiles when he stated this, he believed he was one of Jamie's converted, and he is definitely moving in the right direction, but I think he is still missing a really big piece of the puzzle.


Well, that's my say for now. I think I might have a little more left later today or this weekend, so stay tuned, but if you have not yet checked out Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Global petition, I suggest you do!

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