Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Fair Food Philosophy

How to eat at the Fair and get out of the cycle of shame surrounding food.
An essay by Joy

Lift Bridge Farm Girl Saison: Delicious

This is the time of year I will gladly walk around on a crowded, hot and sunny day in Minnesota declaring that all foods are created equal...well some foods are created equal at the Great Minnesota Get Together. Each year, I spend time peeling through the newspaper for the articles by Rick Nelson pertaining to the food fare this year. What's new and what's good. To me the fair is two things: Fun with friends, and sharing food with friends. It is a communal activity. We eat together, sharing cheese curds, key lime pie, sparkling apple cider floats with cinnamon ice cream, you name it.

But one thing that has become increasingly apparent is that we are totally ashamed that we want to eat this amazing grub. One woman at my workplace said she was purchasing only vegetables for the next month to reverse the effects of one day at the fair last week. Another said they were going on a diet the second Labor Day was over. Still, another said she would go to the fair only to watch people eat, not to eat. What is it about eating what we crave and love that makes us feel so bad about eating it?? Who are we that we can't be proud of the things that tantalize our taste buds and give us incredible pleasure?

We are a society stalked by advertising that if you gain any weight, and are no longer skinny, you don't matter.

Let me set the record straight. In one day of overeating calories, you will not gain any weight, especially if you already have a balanced diet. Eat vegetables, fruits, dairy, grains, protein and you my friend are going to be just fine. In fact, many nutritionists will say that eating some junk once in a while is good for your system. It mixes things up for your body and requires it to get out of ruts. So do it at the Fair. Furthermore, you are not a number on a scale. You matter whether you weight 130 pounds or 300 pounds. Your value does not depend on the things you eat or don't eat at the fair.

So how can we combat this evil in our lives? How can we take back the 12 days of Minnesota's greatest event?

1. Eat with your friends. No you don't need to eat the whole bucket of Sweet Martha's Cookies alone. Get a cone and share with 5 friends. This is a satisfying amount, and it leaves room in your tummy for other goodies. When you eat with friends you can rate the flavor of the foods, talk about what you love and what you will never order again. It makes the experience of eating much less shaming and much more exciting.

2. Pick a 2 things you love to eat and find one new thing to try. Sure I love a pronto pup and Australian Battered Potatoes (located across from the horse barn). But this year I wonder about the dough-sant. And so will my girlfriends today when I ask them to share it with me. All of these things will be shared, savored, and enjoyed. The less I worry about calories, the more likely I am to eat the things I love this one day in the year and wait another year to savor them again.

If everyone in your group of 2-10 does this, you will enjoy many tasty treats, my friend, one bite at a time.
Sharing Poutine, a new food, with a friend

On my day at the fair, I will consume one pronto pup, probably a few sodas or lemonades, a few cider freezies, and other tasty treats. You can follow my food journey on Instagram today if you'd like: mplsmopedjoy.

I got a Papa Pup last year!

Remember the fair is about friends and sharing food with friends. So ask a friend what they like, you'll be surprised to find they might share their favorite and you'll have a new thing to look forward to at the next Great Minnesota Get Together. I'll see you there today...and Friday.

Here are a few websites to get your food thoughts flowing:
The Star Tribune New Fair Food Write Up
The Minnesota State Fair Website

Monday, August 12, 2013

Checking boxes

It's Monday and I feel the busy creeping up my body already. List upon list of to-do's. Decisions about what will happen must be made and I'm crippled by the thought of doing all and doing nothing. This is the part of my day where I must be brave. Either way I must choose my destiny, and sometimes that destiny is e-mailing and cleaning. Today that is my destiny before work.

The first decision was what to eat. Easy. Two basted eggs, one piece of nine-grain toast, plenty of Hope Creamery butter. Coffee with cream and a dash of sugar. Done and done.

Next on the agenda e-mailing. Can I make that appointment on Wednesday? Monday? Friday? Yes, yes, and yes. Calendar filled. Delete the many more promotions from the various places I have frequented in my single life. Goodbye Gap. Ciao Vertical Endeavors. Aloha (in the goodbye sense) Urban Outfitters. And respond to the personal e-mails in my, count 'em, three e-mail inboxes.

Call my mother-in-law (because I have one as of 6 weeks ago) to sync our lives. Check!

Now to the important decisions. Make time to exercise, read, pray, rest.

But the anxiety creeps up. First in my stomach then in my heart. There are so many decisions about how to live. Why is she writing about to-do lists? you might be wondering. Well, its because you are wondering the very same things. Will I get everything done? Will I do what I said I would do? Will I enjoy today, the first day of my work week? Or will I hate my life today? 

If you live intentionally, you know what I'm talking about. We must make decisions everyday that have real consequences for the future.

For example, I recently joined a group of exercisers from work. We are committing to 21 days of 30 minutes or less of exercise. Sounds easy. For me it's not. I was once a very active person, some might say athletic. I might look very skinny, but do not be fooled. The only workout I have had lately is lifting heavy boxes of water at Trader Joe's. Lazy. My decision has been laid out in the agreement I made: do the work, or be kicked off the Facebook group. Ouch. Talk about public shaming. I'm anxious about my 20 minutes with Jillian Michaels today. She's a real piece of work when I don't want to do lunges. I think, "Shut up about bating suits. I'm already upset that I'm in workout gear."

Anyhow, I'm writing today as an act of opposition to the anxiety about scribbling a list and crossing it off. I told myself I'd blog once again CONSISTENTLY. So, here is me scratching something off my list. Keeping a promise to myself. And practicing bravery. Bravery. Bravery my friends is not me in armor, but me typing back at my fears, and deleting them from my brain's hard drive. Goodbye fear. I've checked a box.  Bring on task number two.