Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

Quinoa-Stuffed Summer Squash

Remember that time I made a blog about food and sustainability and then left it high and dry? Sorry about that. I am working on finding my blog-groove and since this site surprisingly is still getting hits (thank you, restaurant reviews) and I don’t intend to stop photographing food and cooking with local ingredients any time soon, I think it makes sense to keep it going. Further, I’ll be posting a brief synopsis of the meal + the ingredients and what I paid for them over at my other blog Talking on Common Ground. Because I like to show evidence of how cooking locally and eating sustainably is practical. Other stipulations: I have the attention span of a 5-year-old and the free-time of…well…a 22-year-old, so I’ll never post a recipe that takes longer than an hour to make (minus slow cooker deals) or has more than 10 ingredients. So that’s the story.

First up, a recipe I made with my roommate Hilary a few weeks back that I never got around to posting. It was adapted from the cookbook Vegan with a Vengeance, which was a stuffed pepper recipe, but since that day I had gone to the farmers market and come home with about 10 squashes (that the farmer had just given me for free!) Hil and I decided to make stuffed summer squash.

Quinoa-Stuffed Summer Squash

1. Saute 3 diced medium onions and 3 cloves of garlic, minced in 2 T. olive oil. Feel free to throw in mushroom or diced bell pepper if that suits your fancy. Saute for 5 minutes. Then add 1 T. chile powder and salt to taste (1 tsp.)

2. Then, add 1/2 c. quinoa, 1 c. tomato sauce, /4 c. water. Turn the heat down slightly and let it all simmer covered for 20-30 minutes.

3. Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Cut the squash in half, then do a criss-cross pattern over the seeds part and take all that out and set aside.

4. Parboil the squash for about 5 minutes so they cook a bit and retain their color/nutrients.

5. When the onion-quinoa mixture is done and the squashes are parboiled, add the squash “meat” to the quinoa and carefully without burning yourself, stuff them with the quinoa. Place them on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes!

Vegan! Soy-free! Local! Full of nutrition, tasty and filling!

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Health 2.0 DC/VA/MD Meet-Up & on being a responsible health blogger

Last night I attended the Health 2.0 DC/VA/MD Meet-Up over in Bethesda (at The Barking Dog), which ended up being a really interesting event. I’m basically brand new to the whole adult world of networking events that fall outside of American University, which is now technically my “alma mater,” and I found it to be not at all intimidating and overall very informative. The event was hosted by Aquilent. They picked a pretty perfect venue for an meet-up with six rapid-fire 5-minute presentations from innovators and leaders in the area of health solutions that use Web 2.0 technology. The moderator had a whistle but I think he laid off it when one of the speakers announced he had “mean soccer coach days” issues.

One of my favorite speakers was Nancy Shute, contributing editor for U.S. News & World Report and writer of the OnParenting blog, which for some reason I sometimes read even though I’m not a parent. She talked about the struggles that journalism has faced with regard to a lack of fact-checking and how, when it comes to issues of health and medical care, those sorts of mistakes can be, well, deadly. One thing she pointed out that I found interesting is that for a while it was clear that people wanted to hear from others like themselves when it came to making decisions about their health care, but now the balance between trusting people like you and trusting medical doctors is beginning to level out.

What this presentation really said to me, especially as someone who blogs and potentially puts myself in a place where my advice about health and eating and wellness can be taken seriously, is that, like a journalist, I need to fact-check my sources and trust only reliable sites. I have struggled with this in the past in my personal life when I have turned into what you might call a “cyberchondriac.” (CDC? An acceptable place to find health information; random message boards? Not so much.) While the Web 2.0 age has afforded us the ability to share information and get help quickly and be in touch with sources online that are legitimate, it has also given a voice to a bunch of people that don’t know what the heck they are talking about. And our job, as the writers and re-purposers of that information, is to do so with utmost scrutiny and with an unbiased voice which isn’t swayed by sponsors or advertisers or celebrities (see Jennifer McCarthy and the autism/vaccine connection debate). We, as “citizen journalists” have to be able to discern when information isn’t accurate or useful so that we know not to trust it for ourselves and not to share it with our readers.

Update: See below for the slideshow from Nancy’s presentation. It’s definitely worth a look through.

Anthony LaFauce at Spectrum Science (who took some video at the event and has it posted on his Qik page) posted a great recap of one of the speakers from Infield. They provided interesting information about recent innovations that have allowed doctors to diagnose patients from afar, just based on pictures they take and send with their cell phones in developing nations where doctors are scarce. They’ve also developed ways of reuniting loved ones who are separated during natural disasters. They talked about how the person locator system was set up following the earthquake in Haiti, but that it took three weeks for this first program to start running, and then when the Chile earthquake happened, they were able to get everything set up in just 4 days. So from trial one to trial two, they cut the time it took to get the system up and running by 80 percent. Just think what that could mean for the unfortunate but inevitable next natural disaster.

This segues well into what I really am looking forward to doing with this blog down the line. As you can tell by my last couple posts, I am already moving away from the strictly food topics. But I will wait to get into that in a future post.

Food Access Solutions: Urban Ag, Local Food, Community Development

Sometimes it’s hard to know if you are seeing something that is actually happening. Sometimes it’s hard to know if our own interests, backgrounds, experiences and lessons are shaping what is going on around us to the point where we are, in a sense, creating our own reality—or if our reality is largely the same as what is actually taking place—that is, if our reality is the same as other people’s realities.

I will eventually make more clear what I mean by this. I hope.

Panel Event: Food Access Solutions

On Friday, I spent a good part of my day at a panel-focused event titled, “Food Access Solutions: Urban Agriculture, Local Food & Community Development.” It was held in a large auditorium in a great new building in Southeast D.C., and there were about fifty of us there to see and hear experts in the field shed some light on the issue of healthy food access and sustainable community development.

Throughout the past eight months or so, I have been surrounded by this food debate. Meanwhile, the food debate has been raging, unbeknownst to me, for decades. Though I feel like this year it has hit critical mass. Meanwhile, it has taken me all this time to put the pieces together and realize that everything that’s going on isn’t really about food. The food issue is merely a symptom of a wider issue of a shift in our cultural values. Namely, that people are craving human connection, are dying for a sense of community, whether or not they realize it. Not to be dramatic, but regardless of where we live or what social class we belong to, we have become slaves (the concept of “food freedom” was discussed at length) to a commercialized, industrialized, profit-driven society that doesn’t cultivate mutual respect or promote equity, and ultimately devalues the natural resources we depend on. Consumerism has replaced consumer-power, as Robert Egger said during the panel. This causes us to devalue our neighbors, friends and family, who depend on those resources along with us. And what the current food revolution is about is fixing this broken value system, through tactics that help to chip away at the symptoms of it, with the hope that eventually the problem itself will begin to reverse.

FYI, here is who was there:

There is a lot worth mentioning and talking about from the panel, but in the interest of keeping this somewhat brief, here are just a few questions that I think elicited the most interesting responses, along with my commentary.

Who do you think is missing from this conversation and this panel today?

Ahh. I appreciated this opening question. Some answers included: city planners, very young people (kindergartners, elementary and middle school students), grocery stores/retailers. I also think that we need government officials (from FDA, USDA) included in the debate, as well as politicians, as these are the people that are helping to shape the policy which determines how our food system functions.

What are some possible solutions?

I was really surprised to find that the majority of the discussion focused on local community efforts that can be made, rather than wide-scale policy changing. I think the general feeling was that a bottom-up approach, rather than a trickle-down approach, may be what we need to rely on, at least to start, in order to motivate changes. In a way, this makes some sense, because if you can mobilize people in pockets all around the country, or world, you can really have an impact–but if you spend your money and efforts targeting a government who ultimately is only serving its financial interests and the interests of the people, nothing can change. You have to change the interests of the people first, and then, if there is a legitimate government, it should follow suit and work to align with those interests. Some ideas that the panelists included:

  • Using music, games, activities at farmers markets to draw more people to them, as well as offering the markets more often and at different times.
  • Urban agriculture methods. So think city/community gardens. AU has one, window farming, roof farming, hydroponics, etc. (I have a o going up soon about these methods in more details, so stay tuned.)
  • Food producers need to reach out more to the existing small corner markets and stores and get their fresh produce there.
  • Making more farmers markets available to under-served communities.
  • Programs like Farm to School, which involve more people, young people especially, in the act of growing their own food from an early age, so they appreciate it more.
  • Making food a more inherent part of our culture, something that we pride ourself on, enjoy the taste of, and would rather spend time with than other consumer endeavors.
  • Shifting the power from large corporations back into the communities, because if you bring a local food economy somewhere, you will build up their economy in general, produce more jobs, and make the community better able to weather the storm when crises occur.

Open Q&A

During the question and answer session, many stood to offer their accolades to the speakers. One young woman, around my age, who works at the Earth Day Network, stood to ask how she, as a middle-class white girl with a passion for the causes of community development and fighting hunger and providing healthy food to those in need—can do without just playing that role of the rich, white girl swooping in to “save” the struggling black community. Malik talked about how we need to stop looking at the issue as one where we are “saving” people, but instead, empowering them. He also said that there are countless nonprofit organizations that start up and go into these communities to help them, but instead of then employing the actual citizens of these communities, the organization leaders hire their other white friends. If we expect to empower people, we must include them in the processes that seek to empower, instead of keeping them on the outside, working minimum wage jobs. But he also mentioned that members of the black community have to “step up,” as he put it, and become active in that sort of work in order to allow themselves to be empowered.

I asked a pretty specific question. I wanted to hear more about how to incorporate the large family farm operations in this discussion, and what role those large commodity crop growers could play toward making healthier food more accessible while reducing the impact that their food has on the world from a greenhouse gas perspective (industrial livestock raising, nutrient soil depletion from not rotating crops, the fuel used to create fertilizers, the fuel used to transport food). I hate to say I didn’t really get an answer to that question–so then I asked how Michael, the farmer on the panel, managed to transform the corn/tobacco operation that once existed into his livestock/vegetable farm which exists today. His answer was, “very slowly.” He also said he relied on a lot of community support for it to happen. I’m not sure if that meant financial support or just support of them buying his food. It wasn’t really enough of an answer for me. So we chatted for a bit after and I got his contact information.

After, I was talking with a girl there who had interned at National Family Farm Coalition. I told her how I was interested in learning more about how to find that balance between being able to grow more fruits and vegetables in places where nature allows them to grow, without pitting large farmers against small farmers. In a sense, how to take away the whole “if you can afford small farm food, that’s great–but if you can’t, there’s factory farming which can provide you cheaper, less nutritious food.” I wanted to know what he had done, in order to use his as a case study for other projects. But his situation was not entirely the same as many large-scale farms across the country. Anyhow, the girl, who was about my age, said something worth noting, which amounted to basically, “If everyone always waited around for someone else to provide a model for how to do something, nothing would ever get done.”

Our Collective Reality

Here is where I am coming from in this discussion. I am a privileged, white girl from a middle-class family who has received an amazing education from a private institution; who has never been forced to miss a meal in her life; who never had to stow away food handed out in elementary or middle school during state-wide exam days or after school activities so I could bring it home to feed my family for dinner; who knows what self-induced starvation feels like, but has never once opened the refrigerator or the pantry only to find that there is not one thing to eat; who knows what healthy food is and what it isn’t and never once has had a problem getting somewhere that offers that food and being able to afford it.

I walked away from this panel finally feeling justified in my thinking of this whole movement as a big deal. It’s not a trend; it will go down in history books. We have to all do what we can to make sure that this is a turning point for the better instead of the worse.

I also walked away from this panel and counted the number of people who would be considered obese as I walked toward the metro station. I sat down on a seat on the train facing one such person, a young black mother and her, I assume, toddler son. He was adorable in his vintage-looking Mickey Mouse t-shirt and Nike sneakers. She was feeding him snacks from a couple plastic baggies, one of which appeared to be filled with sugar cookies and the other with Fruit Loops cereal. And after watching them for a few minutes, watching him eating and giggling and playing, completely ordinary interactions—I felt completely overwhelmed with the strangest combination of despair and hope.

I live a completely different life than the people who are being affected most negatively by our food system. I’m sure I live a completely different life than the mother and her son on the metro, and though our immediate, personal realities are quite different, when it comes down to it, we face the same threats, and our collective reality, as humans, remains the same. This should be what unites us in the struggle.

Tambra Stevenson, a panelist from the DC Food Justice Coalition, reminded us of Harriet Tubman’s famous quote, which I feels ties this entry up nicely: “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”


Portabella Mushroom Burger with Kale Chips

OK. Sorry for you mushroom haters out there. You are seriously missing out. The dinner I made tonight is literally as good if not better than what you would pay $15-20 for at a restaurant. Seriously.

This dinner is for a balsamic grilled portabella sandwich with kale chips.

I’ll do a step by step for the meal in case anyone wants to recreate because it is that good.

  1. Preheat oven to 365 degrees. I just like that number. Take stems off kale (you don’t have to be that picky about this, but if they are super thick, pull those stems out.) Rub olive oil (the more expensive the better they will taste) onto the the kale leaves, sprinkle with salt/pepper, laying them in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  2. Break stem off of the portabella mushroom. Place into a bowl (underside up) and pour in enough balsamic vinegar to soak all the ribs of the mushroom. Then pour about half that much olive oil. The exact amount doesn’t really matter. The ratio for me was about 2 parts balsamic for 1 part olive oil. Then sprinkle with salt and pepper. This only needs to sit for about 3-5 minutes. (Later on, you can save the extra dressing for a salad–it’s not like it’s been in meat.)
  3. While it sits, put the kale in the oven. The kale chips will take about 10 minutes in the oven.
  4. Then, put the burger on the grill (I used the George Foreman). Let it grill for about 5 minutes. Then top with some lovely thick slices of red onion. Let that grill for an extra 3 minutes.
  5. Right after you top the mushroom with the onion, hollow out your bun (if necessary). The baker suggested I do this to make the burger sit better in the bun. It worked well. Toast the bun.
  6. Now, the kale should be ready to come out, so take it out. And turn off the grill, as the burger/onion should be done.
  7. Lastly, dress the bun/burger however you want. I put a dab of mayo on one side and about a tablespoon or two of the pineapple salsa I showed last post on the other side.

This dinner was fabulous, if I do say so myself. This dinner made me think, hey, I can cook. Usually I cook things and it’s…fine…but there is some caveat like I should have added a little something different, or I overcooked something, or whatever. This dinner is clearly either foolproof–or I am getting better at cooking.

Those fancy organic, locally picked ‘bellas cost $2.50 a piece, but when you take the time to prepare them and enjoy different flavors, it’s so worth it. I would rather spend $5 on two burgers that taste like that, than $5 on a box of four frozen bocaburgers that taste like crap. Also, this meal took 10 ingredients, and I cooked it, ate it, and cleaned up in one hour. Plus, there’s lots of protein in the mushroom and lots of vitamins in the kale.

Now that I am all energized–time to write a paper on urban planning and land use! Woo!

Meal Planning For Idiots (Like Me)

Christie over at Honoring Health did a much better job of offering tips about this. I am just going to show you pictures of how I went about planning.

Essentially my thought process went:

  1. I’m going to the farmer’s market.
  2. Ooo. Portabella mushrooms! I haven’t made those in a while. Or ever.
  3. I bought 2 of those.
  4. I bought 2 rosemary buns because that’s what the baker suggested when I asked what was good for a burger bun.
  5. I also bought 2 jars of apple butter, not because I needed 2 jars, but because they were only $2.95, which is about half the price apple butter usually costs.
  6. I also bought red onion, because that goes perfectly on a mushroom burger.
  7. I also bought spinach. Because I like spinach.
  8. I also bought kale because kale chips + portabella mushroom burgers sounds like a dream.
  9. I also bought chimichurri because I tasted it and it was fantastic. And could be wonderful on a ‘bella burger.
  10. I also bought pineapple-sweet onion salsa for the same reason, and because if you bought 2 sauces, the price for each went down.
  11. I also bought sunglasses ($3), which were without a doubt made in a sweatshop in China. Eh. No one’s perfect. And I needed new sunnies. [By the way: Here’s a good joke. What’s worse–selling Chinese sweatshop sunglasses at a farmer’s market OR selling Dole bananas at one (as the AU farmer’s market was doing last Wednesday.) SIGH.]
  12. Get home, make a list of everything I have. Which reminded me I still had veggies in my fridge from last week.
  13. Figure out what I could do with everything.
  14. Take photos of everything.
  15. (If you aren’t a blogger, feel free to skip step 14.)

Is anyone else disappointed at the farmers’ market lately? I know, I know. I am supposed to embrace the seasonality. But it’s a rough time of year because things like carrots are gone, and apples are slowly turning expensive and not as delicious—and there’s still no berries or tomatoes or any of that summertime stuff. Because, well, it’s not summer…yet.

I like to call it…in-betweasons.

OK. PHOTOS.

Who would win in a boxing match: honey or agave?

I hated this cottage cheese. End up tossing it all. Blech. Is organic cottage cheese always..gross?

You haven’t had yogurt ’til you’ve had Greek yogurt.

QUESTION OF THE DAY. YOU MUST ANSWER. I have to make a big important decision. Mom says she wants to buy me a birthday gift and I’m not one to turn down gifts. I told her a blender would be  nice, or a food processor. Jacquie suggested that I get a handheld mixer…and another friend told me I should get a Vita-Mix. Which would be great if my mom wanted to spend approximately 600 dollars so I could make a smoothie once a week.  Anyone have a suggestion for a blender/food processor combo? What do you have? One of each would be OK, as long as they are good quality and the total combined price is less than $200-ish.

QUESTION OF THE DAY #2: What’s your take on mushrooms? Because apparently everyone in my apartment HATES mushrooms (You guys are crazy) and it would be NICE to eat with someone else. Sigh. I suppose I could just make one tonight, one tomorrow.  I’m currently begging for a friend. New low? This is literally the only part that sucks about being single–not having a dining partner!

OK. End post. Happy Monday, all!

Putting “health” back in “health care”

Two weeks ago (geez, has it really been that long?!), Obama signed off on the health care bill. Meaning a whole lot of different things. At the time it passed, I asked my tweeps to give me their two cents on the health care bill.

Some opinions

“It isn’t about you (or me), mostly. Well, not at least until you turn 26, and/or get a job, or are determined to have a pre-existing condition. It’s about people our parents always taught us to help, those less fortunate, those we serve on Christmas Eve morning, at kitchens during the week. People we feel for, and want job training to help. Now, it also helps millions more without work, with cancer, diabetes. It opens a market with a serious competitor, not unlike Sams Club or Wal-Mart, it opens States to competition, it makes insurance companies less greedy.” – Dave

“We were the only rich country that didn’t ensure that its citizens have health insurance; now we’re not.” – John

Katharine at From A to Pink, who suffers with Cystic Fibrosis, directed me to the provisions in the bill that can help those with chronic disorder, like CF. The bill help people like her across the country who previously were denied coverage due to their pre-existing conditions.

“I don’t think insurance companies nor the government need to be involved in health care. Consumers pay doctors directly, costs decrease.” – John

“I do think health reform is needed- costs for doctors, patients and insurance companies are outrageous, but I don’t think this current bill is tackling the main problems like malpractice, the food system and preventative care. Also what scares me more, not just about the bill, but our government system in general, is how the bill got passed. I felt it got pushed too quickly and not thought out for the public, but for the politicians to get re-elected or liked by Obama. If it was written well, with a democratic majority, it should have been passed easily months ago, but even now, it barely passed and that scares me when it’s so expensive and might not comprehensive or helpful to us.” – Jacquie

“We have no money left. One day, someone will have to pay for this. Oh, and Obama’s a socialist.” – Charlie

“Health care bill…meh. It’s passed, so I’m going to have to get over my disagreement and hope it works out for the best!” – Gabrielle, at Une Vie Siene

Photo credit: adrianclarkmbbs

My opinion

At first glance, it appears that Obama’s health care bill has divided Americans into two separate camps: those opposed to it, who are focused on the economic toll it will have on the country—and those for it, who are focused on the obligation we have to make sure everyone has health care, regardless of  inability to pay or pre-existing conditions.

I feel like there are bits and pieces of all of these arguments I can agree with. The moralist in me sees that health care reform is needed while the pragmatist in me sees that it will be expensive and will not get at the heart of the problem. Maybe it’s pointless to talk in hypotheticals. I don’t think it is, though. And I finally have an opinion of my own about this whole thing (and sorry it has taken me so long to get around to posting it!)…

As is customary in this country, the government has focused on dealing with the problem (unaffordable health care and too many uninsured), which always creates more problems, instead of using tactics to prevent health problems in the first place. I know not all health care is treatment care, a lot of it is preventative care or care for illness that could not have been prevented—care such as annual check-ups, vaccinations, insulin injections for people born with Type 1 diabetes, treatment for cancers, autoimmune or other chronic disorders and a slew of other problems, not to mention treatment for accident-related injuries.

However, there are still too many health care dollars that are spent cleaning up messes that should have never been made in the first place. I found this article in Grist recently. Dr. Matthew Nisbet, who actually teaches at AU, was interviewed in a piece called, “Why aren’t climate scientists talking about health care reform?” I found it to be an interesting piece, and it is true. The climate change advocates aren’t really putting as much effort into drawing the connection between our human health and global warming. But I think this issue very similarly mirrors the gap that I see in the health care debate between “health/fitness/wellness” and “health care.” And why is there such a gap? Why is “health” sitting in one corner of the room while “health care” sits in another? It’s almost like when we, as individuals, think of “health” we think of all the personal actions we make to improve our health, while “health care” is the bureaucratic (and therefore often flawed) process we go through for the stuff we can’t take care of on our own. Why isn’t this relationship more interconnected?

My recommendations

  • Gym memberships Apparently, there are some health insurance companies that give rebates, discounts, or even free gym memberships. I doubt mine does. (But I guess I should check before I speak…no matter anyhow, as I have a couple free gym options at my finger tips as it is.) I think this is an excellent idea. How fundamentally smart. I was slightly appalled to read this on Insurance News Net: “…under the new law the government does plan to begin cutting payments to Medicare Advantage, a privatized, managed-care version of Medicare, in 2011. Such plans, in which members often enjoy little or no premium and free gym memberships, may be forced to reduce some benefits or increase premiums for the 10 million people enrolled in them.” Why not require health insurance companies to offer some sort of incentive for people to get active—in the form of free or reduced price gym memberships? Ten percent of the health care dollars we spend per year in this country are spent on obesity-related problems, mostly type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The food people are eating is much to blame, but so is a lack of activity.
  • Healthy eating and cooking workshops Jamie Oliver is making an effort to change the quality and nutrition of food in public schools (as is being documented on Food Revolution—and yes, I will be posting about this show soon. I am waiting to form my opinion after more episodes have aired)—however, children only consume about 16% of their total food from the cafeteria (more if they eat breakfast at school.) As Jamie Oliver’s program has so far revealed, many parents aren’t feeding their children properly at home. Sometimes it is because they don’t know how to cook healthy meals, sometimes it is about lack of time or money. Whatever it is, there is advice for them and that kind of  help should be something the government is interested in providing. Obama’s Let’s Move campaign will hopefully tackle this issue. But why not find a way to weave it into health care? Why not offer people an incentive to attend these workshops through their health care costs? If I was a parent, you better believe I would take my kids to a cooking class once a week if it meant I would get a rebate on my health insurance.
  • Smoking cessation In the U.S., smoking is still the leading cause of preventable death. Oh. My. Goodness. WHY. Honestly, this topic makes my blood boil more than the food system. The cost of medical care and lost productivity related to smoking is (conservatively) estimated to be $150 billion per year. I have a lot of friends and two parents that won’t love that I say this, but I will say it anyway, because I love them: tobacco should be outlawed. Call me a prohibitionist, but that is my opinion and I am sticking to it. Health insurance companies should be required to cover all expenses related to smoking cessation, whether it be in the form of the patch or hypnotism or whatever. If a method has been proven to work, it should be covered. It is an outrage that people are still dying from lung disease and cancer in this country (many from SECOND hand smoke!)
  • Rewarding people for rewarding themselves OK, here is a new-agey little idea. But whatever, I’m a new-agey gal. What if health insurance companies offered a “bonus” to their members if they could prove that they actually took their alloted vacation time? Stress is one of the top causes of heart-related problems, as well as a contributing factor of most other health problems. Taking care of oneself means taking time for yourself. Not enough people are doing this. And their health is paying the toll.

Pick apart my ideas as much as you like. I encourage a healthy debate. But keep in mind that sometimes it is the most radical and different ideas that become innovative solutions for complex problems. Does anyone have any other ideas for ways to incorporate more health into our health care?

The way I see it, health care reform doesn’t come down to health–it comes down to money. It comes down to the have’s and the have-not’s and the question of how we can provide health care to more people, but it doesn’t address how we can make people healthier. If we can implement ways to keep Americans from getting sick in the first place, we can save billions on health care, which will lower premiums for everyone.

Because we all need health care. But some of us aren’t doing our job of taking care of ourselves the way we should in the ways that we can. That is where the government should be focusing its efforts—helping people help themselves so costs for all can go down. That way, the people who need doctors’ help more than others can get the coverage they deserve.

My weekend: a haircut, veggie roasting, and I think I need to get checked for narcolepsy

I feel like all I did this weekend was sleep. And it’s not that I avoided work, it’s just that every time I got into doing work, I fell asleep! I swear I’m not lazy! I’m narcoleptic! I didn’t get out, barely, aside from a trip to the farmers market and the hair dresser on Sunday

Which, speaking of the hairdresser. I sort of got a little bang going on now. Before and after shot? Yes, please.

Before: Drab, boring, lifeless hair. Boy, do I look sad!

After! WOW, what a difference! I’m smiling!

Sure, now you are thinking. -I mean, Kel, it doesn’t really look all that different. All you did was change the Photobooth setting that you took the picture on.  -UM. actually, there is a pile of my hair on the floor of Mimosa in D.C. that can prove that isn’t true.

By the way, it was my first time there, and I approve, if you live in D.C. and are looking for a place to get your hair and nails did. English isn’t their first language, but they know what they are doing. Prices are very fair, too.

To be honest, before this weekend, I don’t even know the last time I had my hair cut. Stuff grows like a weed. And, I am beginning to realize the ridiculousness of me showing you pictures of my new bangs, which literally consist of 3-5 strands of my hair. And also my hair is tucked behind my ears in the ‘before’ picture and you can’t see the length difference in the ‘after’, solidifying the pointlessness. Moving on to food….!


This weekend, all I wanted to do was roast veggies.I had brussel sprouts from the AU farmers market so on Saturday night (yes, Saturday night *sigh*) I just nipped off what little stem there was, coated them in EVOO, salt, pepper, and chopped up garlic, baked them on a cookie sheet for like 20 minutes. They were little guys and didn’t take long. The garlic gets pretty charred by the time the brussels are done though. Which doesn’t effect the rest, but does leave some clean-up. If you don’t mind that, have at it. Hey, you can even buy one of these babies and really feel like a housewife while you’re scrubbing pans: (ps I want one).

Also, direct quote from Jen in regards to these bowls from Anthropologie:

“Those bowls make cooking fun again!” So true.

Can I just say that the remainder of the food shots from this night don’t appear appetizing but I swear to you, the food was great.

That’s naan and then some onion/egg scramble thing. Listen, I could eat some variation of eggs for breakfast and dinner every day for the rest of my life I think sometimes. I could go vegan if not for eggs. PS, those brussel sprouts look burnt, but they aren’t. They are delicious.

Yesterday I went to the farmers market and bought this loaf of peasant wheat for $5. It’s literally the size of a three-year-old. Let’s see if it lasts me a week.

I just think that Kale looks like mini crocodiles in a photo. Anyone else? I’m a weirdo? OK, then.

Then I made kale chips for the first time. I don’t know which blogger to shout out for this one, so I will choose Jacquie because she let me try her’s the other day and I was sold. Basically you rub EVOO all up in those pieces of Tuscan kale you got at the market and you grind some course salt and pepper on there and lay them so they all have their own space, and you bake at 350 for about 10-12 minutes. Jacquie sprinkles on some nutritional yeast to give it a cheesey edge. I didn’t have any and still found the kale chips to be about as addictive as Stacy’s pita chips and Sabra hummus (which is very addictive.) I ate a pan’s worth straight out the oven. Luckily I had enough for two more batches.

There must be some chemical reaction that happens with kale when you bake it that makes it so delicious. Like crack, people.

Then the parsnips got jealous of all the veggie roasting, so I peeled and sliced them up real thin as well.

I’ve got veggie chips of all sorts to get me through the week.

OK, I had half a glass of wine Sunday night, and only because I thought it would be great with my dinner of kale chips—which it was. And actually I felt much more sleepy before the wine, surprisingly.

But on that note, what do you do when you can’t keep your eyes open despite getting enough rest? I am a perpetual napper lately!! But I don’t like to use caffeine because I just feel like that will take me down the road to a very expensive habit.

I think from now on when I feel the eyelids getting heavy I’m going to (attempt to) do some push-ups. To get the blood flowing. I need to tone up anyhow, in preparation for this dress I tried on but haven’t bought yet because it’s a billion dollars and I think my Mac is about to crap out any day now.

SIGH.

ALSO–Any kale chip lovers out there ever make ahead? Does it work out? Mine aren’t crispy today and I am sad. I had them in a plastic bag, but I guess it wasn’t air-tight. Suggestions?