Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Environmentally Friendly Choice.

So, as some of you may know, I work in the Evolutionary Biology and Forestry (conservation) building of the U of Toronto. Most specifically in the botany section. That being said it's understandable that my workroom is full of rather knowledgeable environmental lobbyists.

We had a discussion, after I read an article in Readers Digest, on what is truly the most environmentally friendly food option. Are GMOs bad at all? (The common belief in the science community is no, they really aren't. We don't get the issue.) Is organic really that great? What about that 1000 mile diet going around?

I came away with some of the things I'd been starting to think confirmed, other lessons I'd thought I'd learnt busted. Here's some interesting tidbits, and unfortunately I simply don't have the time to get you solid proof links. I do have access to a lot of databases the "common public" doesn't, so if any of the following really leave you skeptical, feel free to ask me to do some hunting!

ON EATING LOCAL:
-The 1000 mile diet leaves us the most upset. Why? Because it encourages some rather bad practices including:
-Using land for what its NOT best for. Eg: Land in California can grow up 5 times more strawberries per acre than land in Ontario, without taking into account that Cali needs significantly less irrigation, chemical aids, etc. So why are we wasting all the energy and polluting the environment for local strawberries? Ontario grows peaches so much better than Cali, if you catch my drift.
-Storage facilities. Eating an apple in the summer is NOT natural. How do you think you got that apple? It was in a highly ventilated storage facility which pumped ethylene out like crazy (no energy-efficient feat) and likely with the added help of 1-MCP.. Chemicals are never good, if only because producing them takes yet more energy.
-Believe it or not, the amount of gas per fruit used in shipping it TRANSATLANTICALLY, much less within the same continent, is often less than the amount of gas used by your car in going to get the groceries. Yeah. So when you shop local, take it to mean "from the local grocery store" versus "grown within 1000 miles."
-Don't get me wrong, local and seasonal is awesome, and supporting local farmers at the farmers market is cool. I just mean getting Ontario Apples in March at Loblaws versus something in season.

ON EATING ORGANIC:
-This is a harder one. As for the organic label implying non GMO... honestly... whats up with GMO hating? We develop GMOs all the time, mostly in order to avoid using pesticides or to increase yield. With GMO technology we manage to get the same amount of land to spit out TONS more food--that means LESS land we need to clear in order to make the same amount. Not getting the hate.
-As for the organic label meaning no pesticides.. this one I support fully and totally. Yes yes yes. Yes. Boooo pesticides. (I hate pesticide testing rooms in the greenhouse, creep me out to no end.)

ON EATING SEASONAL
-YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY. See my eating local rant for why. ;)

Other Labels
So what about...
-Shade-Grown Coffee=greener? Bullshit. It's MORE environmentally damaging: the habitat damage per acre is the same (100%) but because of the 'shade' sources, MORE acres are needed.
-Organic Bananas? Environmentally, bullshit.. ethically good. FREE TRADE Bananas=AMAZING. Organic bananas rely on organic pest control methods such as plastic bagging, and still make plantations which are the prime cause of Malaria, soil degradation, and habitat destruction in places like Costa Rica. On the other hand, at least the workers aren't living and breathing pesticides all day--it's caused entire villages to go sterile. Fun? Free trade gives the bananas back to the farmers, they plant them intersparsedly in the forests causing little habitat destruction, using little to no pest control, and avoiding plantation issues. :D


I'll have to update this as I think of more.. this is just something that's been bugging my mind and I had a free hour just now. That doesn't happen often!

So, to recap. What do I want you to be eating? (I do want you to eat..)

Look for, in rough order of importance:
1. Foods in season. (Mostly environmental reasons)
2. Foods that are free trade, or local. (Mostly ethical reasons)
3. Foods that are organic. (Mostly taste reasons.)

What's in season right now you ask? I did some googlin' for you to report what produce is in season for June:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Blog Poll



One of the reasons I am somewhat loathe to post is that this was a fitness blog, and it has turned into a bulimia blog, for the most part, with only aspects of the fitness/health from before thrown in.

I was going to post my story, for example, and realized it was pretty intense and unfair to ask anyone who isn't prepared to read a bulimia recovery blog to read it... then again, its unfair to make assumptions.

So, I made this poll.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

An update

First, some updates.

1. I hope to make it through the next two weeks without binging. That's going from almost once a day. My hands are scarred and this is just plain stupid and senseless. As positive reinforcement, every day that I don't binge I get a sticker on my calendar. Funny enough I really enjoy this, and am looking forward to picking out my sticker later tonight. :) Hopefully in two weeks I'll have a really pretty calendar to post a photo of. If I can't do this, I have promised myself to talk to my physician and seek professional help.

2. I hope to take up yoga and or meditation, I feel it would be very good for me. In the past I've always been a bit bored with yoga, but I've looked to it as a physical exercise... perhaps if I look to it as an emotional exercise I will take to it better.

3. I have been reading Real Recovery from Bulimia & Binge Eating and doing some of the exercises. This site is helping me a lot.

I just read: Why Do People Become Bulimic

I was expecting so much bullshit, and instead found so much truth.

Some quotations:

Bulimics are often considered “ideal” children, and will go out of their way to be “people pleasers.” They present an acceptable facade—seeming outgoing, confident, and independent— while anxious feelings bubble underneath. They may be valued for not needing to be nurtured, for taking care of themselves, and for growing up early. Bulimia is a way of expressing what cannot be said directly in words, in this case something like, “I want to be taken care of,” or “Will you love me as I am?”

Sometimes, people use bulimia to postpone growing up. The child who has looked to others for validation and feelings of selfworth and who has assumed a “perfect little girl” role because it works at home may experience tremendous fear at having to trust herself and face the outside world alone. This insecurity is sometimes unconsciously reinforced by parents who also do not want to let go.


This rang true in so many ways. It also reminds me of something my last boyfriend said, the night we broke up (we had a very good chat after we broke up about this and that..) "It didn't surprise me that you were bulimic. You're always trying to be perfect, even though you don't even seem to know what perfect is. You're not even sure what you're trying to be."

As mean as that may sound, I love him a little for saying it, because I realized it was true.