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Archive for May, 2010

Like they say – ‘A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing’. So I am making an attempt here to gain information about organics, pesticides, preservatives, the ‘all-natural’ tag and the whole nine yards around smart/healthy food choices. It is going to be a long, continuous learning process. Recently I brought a book from the library ‘the Baby food bible’ by Eileen Behan. I found it to be educative on quite a few things related to the above. I wanted to make a note of it somewhere before I forgot about it. So here it goes:

– Organic foods carry no antibiotics or growth hormones and are free of conventional pesticides, synthetic fertilizer, bioengineering and irradiation
– Foods to buy organic – apples, sweet bell peppers, strawberries, pears, spinach, potatoes and carrots (Note: I am including foods that my family consumes on a daily basis.)
– “Natural” and “all natural” applied to meat or poultry means the product carries no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. The words as applied to non-meat products are meaningless words with no standard definition
– “Natural”, “free-range” or “hormone-free” are not to be confused with organic
– Avoid food with “added colors” or the preservative “sodium benzoate”. A study has tied this to increased hyper-activity among children.
– Genetically modified foods have a PLU code starting with ‘8’. (Note to self – AVOID!)
– It is possible that many of the spices we eat may have already been irradiated. It is purported that is reduces the nutritional value; however, the effect has not been studied.
– Milk that has been certified organic is from cows fed an organic diet, and the cows will not be treated with hormones or antibiotics
– “Certified Humane” means that meat, poultry, eggs or dairy products come from animals raised meeting humane standards, including sufficient space and access to fresh water and a good diet.

Honestly, sometimes I think this whole thing is a scam – a way to extract money from consumers. Also, it is not feasible for all people in the world to start eating organic food; the farming of organic food takes up a lot of resources. So really you are benefitting yourself, not making an effort to protect the earth or something. But having Nan and facing a few health issues of my own have given me a different perspective. I guess I will try to imbibe a few of these tips into my Kroger/Meijer trips, without going overboard and of course “cutting my coat according to the cloth”. Happy grocery shopping!

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This morning I was thinking of the upcoming Shraavan month, and how I should celebrate the multitude of festivals that come up during that period with my in-laws. It reminded me of a poetry ‘Shraavan Maasi Harsha Manasi’*. And that led me to another (dreadful) thought. I was in the seventh grade and I decided to participate in the Marathi poetry recitation competition. Honestly, poetry and me don’t go very well together. I had chosen the very wonderful poetry by Baalkavi above, to recite to a school-full of students. Since it was raining or something of the sort, the recitation competition was being held in the principal’s office, over the speaker system. I can still remember the face of the judge wearing a pastel colored saree and a very encouraging expression. I stepped in front of the mike, recited the first four lines without fear and that was it; my stomach got clenched into a tight ball. It refused to become undone. The judge nodded at me, gently chiding me to continue. But stage fear it was, with an audience of just two people – the principal and the judge. After a minute or so, I could remember the last two lines. I muttered them with haste and scampered out the room. When I came back to the classroom I got a look (what-really-happened-in-there) from my best friend, who had actually helped me prepare for the competition. I cannot even begin to mention the betrayed look in the eyes of the red house prefect. That was the beginning and end of my ‘poetry recitation’ career.

Even today, ask me to give a random talk in front of a bunch of people I don’t know, and I have butterflies in my stomach. The talk never goes like planned. Either it’s too fast. Or I miss some of the key points I want to talk about. Ha ha ….. Note, I am discussing a random talk, in which I have no interest. When I am on a mission like getting requirements for work, or guiding the customers to agree on something, or demonstrating my work to them, I don’t have a problem at all. The words just flow out. So God help you, if you are scheduled to listen to a practiced I-am-not-so-interested-in-talking-about-this speech by me! At least you’ll know where I am coming from!

* Poetry @ http://mdpathak.blogspot.com/2008/08/shravan-masi-harsha-mansi.html

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