Little Darling preschool children learning about making bread (click to enlarge)
Today when I went to get some bread and brownies that are made here at the Great Harvest Bread Company, I saw these adorable little ones (the short people in red caps) and their teacher learning about how bread is made. This wonderful store also offers free samples, and I walk by here every day on my way to the bus. I try really hard not to get too many free samples, but this is where the bread my husband and I both eat comes from. He likes something called "Dakota seed" and I like the whole wheat sourdough. The feeling of family is strong in the store; they know me and call me by name as a "regular."
I've discovered that Bellingham, my new home, and Boulder, my old home, have many things in common. Both have a reputation for being different in food consciousness from their surrounding towns. I got a cup of coffee and asked if the beans are free trade. My server assured me that they are and said that here in Bellingham almost every coffee shop (except for the chains like Starbucks) use free trade coffee. At the Food Co-op where I do the majority of my shopping, everything that is carried in the store is supposedly good for the environment. We have the ability to go to a farm a few miles away and pick our own apples right off the tree. Milk, cheese and yogurt are processed within a short distance of my town (mostly in Bow, WA).
All this is uppermost in my mind right now as I continue reading Michael Pollan's book In Defense of Food. Right now I'm reading about how the low-fat craze actually caused people to get sicker and fatter. People followed the dietary guidelines to eat more low-fat foods, and they replaced "bad" saturated fats with polyunsaturated and trans fats. We now know that trans fats really DO make us sick. And Pollan points out that Americans didn't eat less; they just ate the same amount but added more low-fat foods. Here's a telling quote (pp. 51-52):
Play your cards right and you can even get the American Heart Association to endorse your new breakfast cereal as "heart healthy." As I write, the FDA has just signed off on a new health claim for Frito-Lay chips on the grounds that eating chips fried in polyunsaturated fats can help you reduce your consumption of saturated fats, thereby conferring blessings on your cardiovascular system. So can a notorious junk food pass through the needle eye of nutritionist logic and come out the other side looking like a health food.
I'm at the end of Part I (of three), "The Age of Nutritionism," and just beginning Part II, "The Western Diet and the Diseases of Civilization." The last part is "Getting Over Nutritionism." I'll keep you posted. But if you're interested in learning more right now, I found this very good interview on NPR with Pollan. It also has a picture of him, which interested me. He looks like he's in very good shape.:-)