Food Rules 2012
Tonight my 9-year-old Alyssa asked, “why do some people think the world is going to end in 2012?”
I asked her if she was worried about it.
Her chin dropped. Her eyes dropped. She nodded an ashamed “yes.” She was scared. Poor baby. I wondered how long she’d been carrying this concern around with her. Probably for a while. That dag-blammed movie 2012 came out forever ago, and I’m certain that’s where she first heard about the end of the Mayan calendar.
I thought for a moment how I should respond. My first instinct was to tell her the world wouldn’t end. Not at all. But who can possibly know such things? I went in for a baseline mammogram last week, and despite having not a single symptom of even a boob freckle, I worried all week that the final test would come back positive for cancer. It didn’t. It was normal and clean, and praise and glory.
But, that’s not the point.
The point is, I don’t know what 2012 will bring. There’s something to suspense and mystery and uncertainty. It makes us try harder. It pushes us to alter our existence with all the hope and hard work we can muster to make that unknown space sitting in our future molded with our efforts of today.
I told that little girl of mine as much. “I don’t know what it going to happen in 2012. I think the Mayan calendar is a bunch of bulhonkey, if that helps,” I said. “But can I tell you what I HOPE will happen?”
She nodded. I went on to explain.
A few months ago, I received one of my morning “Letters from the Universe” which arrive throughout the week in my inbox from the brilliant Mike Dooley, founder of Think Unique Thoughts. In it, it detailed Mike’s thoughts on what the end of the Mayan Calendar will mean for the world as we know it. I’ve savored these words ever since:
“National borders will dissolve. Religions will be replaced by celebration centers. Relationships will last longer but marriages will decline…”
I mentioned the essence of Dooley’s little line to my baby girl, then told her, “I hope very much that the world as we know it this year will end. That this will be the year cancer is cured. That nations previously reigned by cruel dictators and caste systems will find freedom. I hope–”
She cut me off. “Do you think we can get rid of global warming in 2012?” Oh dear thing. She’s worried about global warming, too.
This being the New Year, we often find ourselves reflecting on the past. We make resolutions and promises and attempt to tweak the future. Which is precisely what I’m doing right now with Cheeky Kitchen. There’s a major redesign happening behind the scenes, but even more so, I’m adding a new focus to the website.
A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon Michael Pollan’s illustrated Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual. I’ve always been a fan of Pollan’s work, but this latest attempt to help redefine what makes a remarkable diet feels even more right that any of his previous writings. It very much reflects the real-world diet that feels right to me. There’s the call to eat mostly plants, to not eat cereal that stains the milk, to stay away from anything in a plastic package.
All of Pollan’s food rules strike at the very heart of what my conscience tells me I should be eating.
However, food around my house is a battle. I’ve got a husband who eschews brown rice (he says it ‘sucks his breath) and a daughter who’s 2011 New Year’s goal was to eat salad for the first time ever (she succeeded, dousing romaine with obscene amounts of ranch dressing). Not to mention a teenager who is approaching overweight, and who would eat two spicy McChicken sandwiches everyday if I let him.
There are other issues, too. Like the fact that my schedule is just like your schedule. Crazy hectic. And my organizational skills are barely better than those of a Yeti. I tend to lean toward spontaneity over stringency, which means I don’t even think about boiling a pot of Quinoa until thirty minutes past the point of extreme afterschool hunger.
So the question becomes, how does a real person, with a real family, and a really busy schedule turn Michael Pollan’s Food Rules into a reality? That, dear reader, is the question of the year. I plan to explore each of these Food Rules one by one, finding recipes and real life tips that real husbands and children will really eat.
Along the way, I hope to offer you some serious help in meeting some of your own goals for the New Year. Do you want to lose 15 pounds? Oh.em.gee. Meee too! But I want to do it without losing my mind. Looking to spend less at the grocery store while still eating organic, healthy, inspiring meals? I got your back. Not only do I think we can do it, I believe we’re going to change our lives.
And meal by meal, I believe we’re going to change our world.
After all, many of Pollan’s suggestions support the reduction of greenhouse gases. They encourage cancer-fighting eating habits. They support the economy of your community. Little ripples that have a huge effect on the earth, for our bodies, amongst our families, with our friends.
I’m really excited to walk through 2012 with you here on CheekyKitchen. I’ve set a few other resolutions for myself which I’ll share sometime, and would love to hear what you’re doing to make your 2012 the year that changes your world.
No, we don’t know what will happen, but I like believing that we have the power to make seriously beautiful change happen. Every day. Every meal. Every minute we have.