• tapping into london

    July 11, 2009

    My friend Angela, a chiropractor, asked a very good question in response to my post about the ban on bottled water in the Australian town Bundanoon.  Is it safe to drink from the tap in London?  The Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI), which regulates public water supplies in England and Wales, says yes.

    Now, I spent a year-and-a-half rowing on the Thames, and I can tell you it totally put me off drinking tap water.  The media is quite quick in issuing warnings against drinking from the tap during floods, but I still put all my water through a Brita filter.

    However, I was pleased to read that the DWI advises against using water from the hot tap as it may contain high levels of copper.  I’ve known this for some time and am glad to see transparency on their part.  Even if you are boiling it, get your water out of the cold tap.

    What about when you’re at a restaurant?  Should you be asking for tap water?  Some sources say that water interferes with digestion; others contend it’s perfectly fine to drink and dine.  I personally find that if I’m fully hydrated there is no need for water at all during meals.  Except for the occasional wine with dinner, I like to have a fresh juice as a first course when I’m dining out – remember it takes 20-30 minutes for fruit to digest.  And the way to make sure you’re fully hydrated is to enjoy lots of fresh, whole, water-rich fruit and veggies.  The only time I ever feel the need to gulp down a glass of water is upon awakening and after vigorous exercise.

    This topic is specifically important in the context of the UK, since it’s no secret we have another drinking problem here – the kind that flows from an altogether different kind of tap.  Alcohol, as we know, is dehydrating, and the problem is compounded with the concept of “eating is cheating”.  Of course, the only thing you end up cheating during binge drinking is your body.

    The latest “Know Your Limits” campaign (below), which I’m sure was a blast for the ad boys to make, doesn’t really tell me what I should be doing instead of alcohol.  I’d love to whip out my advertising skills and do a really visual campaign about getting drunk on fruit.  That brings me back to the Green Appetite motto: it’s not about what you can’t have, but about the joy that comes from choosing to have what your body really wants.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uym6fcrSda8

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  • down under with bottled water

    July 9, 2009

    Doesn’t Australia have the coolest names?  And now they have a very cool initiative.

    I hadn’t heard of tongue-tripping Bundanoon until today when I learned that the town in New South Wales has banned the sale of bottled water.  The goal?  To curb taxes and protect the environment.  Pretty smart, those wizards of Oz.  It’s great that they’re launching a “Bundy on Tap” plan to provide easy access to tap water, but I wish they’d also let people know that pure, plentiful water is packaged perfectly within fresh fruit and veggies.  It’s definitely a step in the green direction, though.  Here’s another way to save some bills and help your health: pitch the plastic and invest instead in a snazzy SIGG-style bottle.  Yep, I do love word plays.  The cheesier, the better.  Anyone up for a little veggie might?

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  • will the real super food please stand up?

    July 4, 2009

    In my recent video tour of my kitchen, I mentioned that whole, fresh fruit and greens are the true super foods; and that I was taking a closer look at the maca, lucuma and cacao lurking in my fridge.

    There’s no money in fruit and veggies.  You can’t brand them like you can processed goods.  That’s why there’s no advertising, no spiel.  The closest I can think of are the vegetable box schemes or CSAs that have become so popular.  But here again, no one can stake claim to produce as proprietary.

    Yet producers are aware of the public’s desire for natural, plant-based nutrition; and someone was bound to cash in on it.

    Enter “super foods”.  At £20 (around $36) for a pack of lucuma – a dried Peruvian fruit boasting high levels of beta carotene in its WHOLE form – the only super thing we can be sure about is the price.

    I can’t say I agree with everything in the latest issue of the Glycemic Index newsletter (I can think of better after-sports options than pasteurized chocolate cow’s milk, for example), but Nicole Senior’s assessment of the super food craze is right on,  She also makes a very good point about the environmental impact involved in the production and distribution of so-called super foods.

    I use lucuma in my Dulce de Leche recipe, but to do so with the belief that it alone will super-charge my health is ridiculous.  In short, the Earth gives us a wealth of vitamins and minerals distributed amongst an incredibly varied plant kingdom for a reason; and each is packaged with pure water for a purpose.  To think that a single food – let alone a dehydrated supplement – can nourish us is completely contrary to our nature.  T. Colin Campbell calls it “scientific reductionism”; Dr. Douglas Graham refers to it as the “fragmented approach.”  To be healthy, we gotta be whole.

    It’s also important to remember that plants produce toxins in order to ward off predators, yet another reason to rotate the produce we eat and keep concentrated foods to a minimum.  As I was telling a client yesterday who works in finance: it’s smart to shop for food as if you were investing in a portfolio; spread your investments in order to minimize risk and maximize reward.

    Have a super 4th of July!

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  • get water wise

    June 2, 2009

    In the spirit of simple and tasty, I’m going to be posting more quickies to the blog, and more often.  What better way to start than with the great common denominator:  water.

    If you’re like me, right along with the marketing machine’s “need milk for strong teeth and healthy bones” you probably have another sound bite lodged in your head: drink at least eight glasses of water a day.  Or wait, was that two liters?  Or was it take your body weight, multiply it by pi and divide the number by your age?

    Forget all that.  There’s only one thing you need to know:  eat more raw fruits and veggies.  The reason we grew up with the great water myth is because the standard western diet is comprised mostly of denatured, dehydrated foods.  When you think about the fact that processed, starchy carbohydrates form the bulk of typical western diets, you start to see why companies have made millions selling bottled water.  By contrast, Mother Nature, the original rawntrepreneur, designed her products to come perfectly packaged with plenty of pure – no need for fancy filters – water.  Start eating more raw fruits and vegetables, and suddenly you’ll realize you aren’t so thirsty anymore.

    Okay, so maybe that wasn’t so short.  I’m an English major and I’m half Cuban; what can I say?

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