My history with food is long and broad. I started as a child with a giant bake set full of box mixes. I thought it was the best Christmas ever. In High school I took cooking in the summer because it was such a fun program.
When I got married in the early 1970’s we settled in Northern California wine and pear region. It was the “Back to Nature” period of the hippy movement. I met and enjoyed many a cooking spree with these back to nature folks. Our closet city center was San Francisco and when Laurel was just working on her kitchen book we were eating at the wonderful natural foods café’s in the bay area. I learned to cook any and everything. A group of us formed a natural foods club and had food shipped up from SF which we weighed out and shared with the members of the group. This was early on, long before the organic title on foods. This let me use so many ingredients I would never have known about.
Then I read “Diet for a small planet’ and I was changed. I began to eat in combinations. I’ll put the chart above and you will see. As time has passed since the 1970’s we have learned so much more. I now know we didn’t need to be as exacting as the chart above. But the plan still works and it makes meal planning so much easier. You feel good when you eat. I do know that this is how my grandmother did eat without even knowing that whole wheat bread and milk and walnuts were really good for us and made a great protein balance.
My grandmother would make bread, by hand, in a big galvanized tub. I don’t even know how many loaves she made each time. I did know that there were 5 boys in that house. I was the oldest grandchild and my mother the only girl in that family. On bread day we always went to grandmothers for lunch, dark whole wheat bread broken into pieces in a bowl. A drizzle of honey, some chopped onions and a handful of nuts on the side of the bowl were added. If the cows had just been milked we had warm milk on the bread but mostly it was cold milk. I loved this lunch. Yummy as ever.
As we think over our weight loss plans we can get more by eating less and choosing better foods. We need to get in touch with food as it comes to us when we pull a carrot or harvest a nut. I remember helping harvest the walnuts. About 3 very large trees in the front of my grandmother’s house. A walnut has a heavy green husk on the outside. It has to be removed so the walnut shell on the inside can dry to what you know as walnuts. You don’t want to eat a walnut that isn’t nice and dry…..Yucky. If your hands touched the outside covering they would be dyed black for a very long time. After the green was off the brown shells would be spread on tarps to dry and everyone would keep their eyes on the squirrels who love walnuts too. My point in this story is to remind myself how much work would go into the food I ate as a child. Nothing just hopped on my plate. The cows had to be milked, the eggs collected and the vegetables planted. You might be surprised to know this was in a suburb of Los Angeles also. I doubt very much that we over ate during this time. Food was carefully used. I’m guessing if I want to loose weight I need to return to the food of my youth. Return to my connection to food.
Maybe you never have enjoyed growing and harvesting as I have so learn from me what a wonderful thing it is to know your food.