Monday, August 16, 2010

Latte Land

Living in Seattle we are surrounded by coffee shops, and I’ll admit it, I get it. A warm latte is like an oasis in this grey, dismal, and wet city. That is how many Seattlites operate; let’s face it, Starbucks was founded in 1971, and Microsoft followed soon there after in 1975. But as I was driving home from clinic this afternoon I spotted a billboard on the side of an espresso shop that said: “Good nights sleep? We can fix that!” Something about that sign did not sit well with me.

America is sleep deprived. We are working too hard and sleeping too little. Bedtimes get pushed back further and further in to the night as the television flickers in many homes each evening. As stress goes up and sleep goes down, our stress hormones skyrocket, which can help lead to obesity, another huge problem in America these days. To top off everything, the foods that we eat are not supportive of our health and this makes the situation even worse.

Drinking too much caffeine is like using a credit card. If you buy something that you can’t afford at the time, pretty soon, you will have to pay for it, plus interest. Having 3-4 cups of coffee a day to “keep you going” can drain out your supply of stress hormones causing severe exhaustion. Eventually you will have to build back your supply through proper eating and most importantly, sleep.

Everyone misses out on their 8 hours once in a while, but I believe it is important not to skimp on sleep too frequently. An afternoon latte or two wont hurt every so often, but every day it can be a detriment to achieving optimal health, not to mention each one runs you about 200 calories.

Do you depend on coffee for your afternoon boost? What other ways do you find energy to get you through the day?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

You Say Tomato…

It’s official. Summer is finally here! Do you know how I know? I had my first tomato. My very first, you say? Well, I had my very first tomato worth eating of this year. It was a plain old beefsteak from the market and it was delicious. Bright red, bursting with juice and the flavor of pure summer, biting into this pure delight made me wonder why I even bother with the pale, pink, mealy slices that end up on my sandwiches throughout the rest of the year. In truth, the month of August and early September is really the only time that we should be eating tomatoes… that is, if you are trying to find real food! Tomatoes in season are probably the most delicious treats you could imagine. I like mine with just a little sea salt and maybe a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Of course you CAN eat tomatoes at any other time of the year. That is the American way. You can eat tomatoes from Chile in February that have been picked while they are green so they don’t bruise or become damaged on their long journey to your plate, but why bother? They don’t taste halfway decent, they cost a lot more, and too many fossil fuels have been burnt on their travels.

Eating local and seasonal is the best way to find real food. Jon and I ventured out to the farmers market this past weekend and loaded up on local tomatoes and peaches. As peach juice dripped down my elbow on the walk home, I proclaimed, “That peach was in the top 5 best peaches I ever ate”. Last week I thought I was eating enough blueberries to turn into one, Willy Wonka style. And that, my friends, IS how to find real food. Chant these three words with me…local, seasonal, and organic! Now hurry and go and eat a tomato while you can!