Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Designer Foods

Who doesn't want to eat good quality foods?  But who determines what "quality" means?  In this country the selling of foods is a tricky business.  "Natural" may not mean what you think, same with "organic", "cage free" and many of the other labels food companies put on their products.  But I'm not going to get into all of the details of the marketing and selling of food products.

One of my neighbors who is a professional Chef used the term "designer foods" to describe what markets like Whole Foods sells.  I immediately felt what that term was supposed to mean.  There is a certain something, a feeling perhaps, we get when we buy what we perceive is extra special!

I often let people know that I managed to lose over 120lbs never eating an organic vegetable or grass fed burger.  First of all I wasn't aware of the differences, and once I became aware of what the food industry wanted me to believe were the differences I quickly jumped on the bandwagon.  I spent some time buying into all of the hype, and I do believe that there are products that are, in fact, of better quality.  But at the end of the day the types of foods I eat and prepare myself, no matter if they are organic or not, is what I'm most proud of.

But I "get it", and I myself sometimes feel a little extra special when I shop at those gourmet markets. Yes, you can get unique, sometimes imported or local handmade food products that may in fact be treated with extra care and attention to quality.  But in my opinion there's no reason to judge the rest of the food products (or the people that buy and eat them) as less than necessarily.  A person would have to live by very strict standards that would include, in my opinion growing and killing their own foods before they could judge the choices other people make.  Especially when it's this same crowd that can't even cook their own foods!

I often shop at ethnic markets because the prices are better and I can find interesting and unique produce sometimes.  I often watch the regular customers and what they put in their baskets.  It's not unusual for most of what they purchase to be produce.  I also take notice at how few overweight customers there are compared to the shoppers at "quality" markets like Whole Foods.  (I also find it interesting that I can pay $4 for a 1lb bunch of spinach in Palo Alto Farmes' Market and $1 per bunch in my own Japantown FM.  Both are certified organic markets.)

Yesterday I bought some asparagus at a "Fine Foods" market, $22 dollars worth to be exact at $5.99lb!  Does it taste better?  Or does it make me feel better?

As I end this blog post I want to share a funny story with may or may not be relevant:

When I was 21 years old I had a boyfriend that bought me a Silver Fox fur coat as a Xmas present.  It was the 80's and owning a BMW and a fur were all the rage here in CA (I know a fur in California, pretty funny!).  Anyway, of course I did not own a fancy car much less a BMW, in fact my car was an old bright yellow '76 Toyota Celica handed down to me from my mother.  I never felt quite right arriving at my destination wearing a fur while stepping out of my old beater....(it was actually kind of a cute little car...wish I had it now!)

Moral of the story?  Know that who you are and what you do is special!  Not your fur coat or grass fed burger. The coat you wear must first keep you warm and dry.  And the car you drive must get you where you need to go, just like the foods you eat.  Where you buy your food is secondary to how you feed yourself.  If you feel better in a fur coat and can afford it then knock yourself out!  But what's underneath that coat?  Is it something you are equally proud of?


Concetta said...

Nicely put Tracy. We owe it to ourselves to be "happy in our own skin". What we wear does not make us who we are. What we eat? Yes, but not where it is purchased. I grew up eating food from our garden. I wish I had appreciated that more.
I completed "on the minute" #5 today with a 24kg KB. Almost lost my grip on the last couple of reps in the last sets. But I held on. I've lost 5lbs since I've started. Cleaned up my eating, but your program is making a difference. Thanks! Concetta

Tracy said...

Yes, so true! We need to focus inward more.

I cringe when I see how much they charge for turnips at the store when I know in the summer - I can pick as many as I want from my uncles' garden.

Same for squash and zucchini. It is so difficult for me to actually buy that at the store for what they charge when I am up to my eyeballs in it every single summer. (I know, sorry - got a bit off subject here)

Tracy Reifkind said...


Wow, maybe I'll have to try it with the 24kg! I've got to save my strength and energy though I've got a big weekend of training coming up in less than two weeks time!

Cleaning up the eating feels good, doesn't it?

Tracy Reifkind said...


We can get caught up in the details instead of the big picture.

Lucky that you have access to a garden, but then again lucky all of us that we have access to produce at all! Good-ness, if I had to grow it, I'd starve! (or I'd learn to grow it! lol)

Concetta said...

Clean eating feels much better. Using the 24kg was a real test. I was thrilled to finish. Can't wait to continue.