Sunday, January 17, 2010

Eating is a political act

(Image from

Before I start I'd like to say that I am not a food expert or a politician. I'm a food photographer who recently watched Food Inc ... and I have a sister who is a hippie and bit of a food activist. I like food & I enjoy eating. I, like many people/women/eaters, spend a good deal of time thinking about what I eat and how it will affect my body.

It is no deep secret that natural less processed foods tend to be healthier for our bodies. What IS less widely known is that we're presented processed unhealthy food partially because it's what we buy, but also because of food subsidies, policies, and big corporations. You don't have to be a political scientist to begin to understand the problem, and I have no interest in fully deconstructing it. (I dropped my dual major in political science to a minor mostly because I find politics depressing.) What I can take away from both my 'International Political Economy' class (even sounds depressing right?) and Food Inc is that we are more powerful than we know as consumers. If we buy it - they will produce it. If we demand other products we can affect change! The Story of Stonyfield Farms in Food Inc. is very inspiring and Gary (CEO aka CE-Yo) talks about this very idea.

I'll leave you with the 10 ways to change our food system suggested by 'Hungry for Change' -

Stop drinking sodas and other sweetened beverages.
You can lose 25 lbs in a year by replacing one 20 oz soda a day with a no calorie beverage (preferably water).
Eat at home instead of eating out.
Children consume almost twice (1.8 times) as many calories when eating food prepared outside the home.
Support the passage of laws requiring chain restaurants to post calorie information on menus and menu boards.
Half of the leading chain restaurants provide no nutritional information to their customers.
Tell schools to stop selling sodas, junk food, and sports drinks.
Over the last two decades, rates of obesity have tripled in children and adolescents aged 6 to 19 years.
Meatless Mondays—Go without meat one day a week.
An estimated 70% of all antibiotics used in the United States are given to farm animals.
Buy organic or sustainable food with little or no pesticides.
According to the EPA, over 1 billion pounds of pesticides are used each year in the U.S.
Protect family farms; visit your local farmer's market.
Farmer's markets allow farmers to keep 80 to 90 cents of each dollar spent by the consumer.
Make a point to know where your food comes from—READ LABELS.
The average meal travels 1500 miles from the farm to your dinner plate.
Tell Congress that food safety is important to you.
Each year, contaminated food causes millions of illnesses and thousands of deaths in the U.S.
Demand job protections for farm workers and food processors, ensuring fair wages and other protections.
Poverty among farm workers is more than twice that of all wage and salary employees.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

New Years Resolutions... how are you doing?

I have the day off today because I am doing a bridal show this evening. Come see me at Spinelli's Peabody @ 6PM. This may be my last show. I get so much word of mouth work that I don't really need to advertise anymore! Plus, I'm now focusing on smaller weddings & portrait work. It is a much better compliment to my 9-5 food photographing. So far it's been a good day off. I've done yogalaties, had tea & breakfast, put up new curtains, and now I'm on to blogging! (plan for later: work on client photo albums, haircut & bridal show)

So, New Year's Resolutions. I made a couple:

1) Lead a healthier lifestyle including exercising & eating well
2) Be more conscious of the environment
3) Not blog only for Stonewall Kitchen & remember mine too!

Hey... 2 out of 3 ain't bad! Plus, being healthier is really 2 fold! ;) So, while I talk about what I've done for the first two I'll take care of #3. Sweet.

• Healthier part A - Eating better: I've made a ton of homemade soups to bring to work for lunch. Just ask my co-workers... if they see me with pea soup for lunch again... HA! I've also been on and off looking up nutrition info for the things I eat. There are plenty of websites & ipod/phone apps for this too. (I like "Lose It! - a free app")
Counting calories is exhausting and quite frankly depressing. I know that alone wouldn't work for me to be healthier! However, being able to check out and compare the food you eat is very helpful! There are often many healthier substitutes!

• Healthier part B - Exercise: YOGA. PILATES. Enough said? I joined a gym in November and started taking classes. (tried to get in ahead of the new years rush) I've learned that I hate aerobics and feel stupid doing it. Strength training is OK, but I LOVE yogalates (yoga & pilates). Zumba is ok too... so is running on the elliptical - and I know I need cardio too. But, if you're looking to just feel great in your own skin try a class or video that is a yoga & pilates mix. It puts me in a good mood for my whole day. I bought this Golden Earth kit at tjmaxx (you can also order online) and it's a good 45 min stretch.

• Environmentally friendly. My husband already calls me captain planet. And while I am no where near the hippie my sister is, I try to do my part. I'll write a whole post about this later - but some new things I've added for the new year are to take cloth napkins to work and to keep veggie scraps in a bag in the freezer to turn into vegetable stock. (Skins, peels - it's all good in stock!)

• Blogging: Well, I blog at least once a work for work, but I haven't been to mine nearly as often. Now that I'm only part time in the wedding industry an entirely wedding tip themed blog doesn't make sense - but, tips will still pop up. I'm still not sure what the blog will morph into - but I'm looking forward to the journey!

* I very rarely receive free products and then blog about them. When I do, I will specifically tell you in my post that it was a free item. I blog about things I like - not things I get for free.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Wedding Tip #29 - Gather everything you want photographed

This was a tip born from my NOT photographing a wedding! (haha) My friends Colleen and Mike just got married and Colleen wanted me to be able to enjoy myself and not have to work. It's funny, I haven't been a regular wedding guest in quite some time! It seems I'm always shooting or being a bridesmaid. It was amazing to be there to help the girls get ready but not have to worry about my own hair, flowers, and shoes looking perfect. I had a lot of fun just playing with my point and shoot camera and trying to help gather photo things for Lara (Colleen's wedding photographer).

So, this tip is:
Gather items you want photographed and bring them to the room where you're getting ready!

All brides see examples of photos they love: cute shoes, sparkly rings, colorful flowers, & showcased invitations. However, many people don't think about how these photos are made! The best time for your photographer to get these shots is for while you're getting ready. You want your photographer to be there to get the hair & make-up prep shots, but there is a lot of downtime for a photographer at this point too. Make the most of your photography time by having all of the items you want cute shots of ready to be arranged and photographed.

Things that should be available:
1) Rings (both his & hers)
2) Any other special jewelry you'll be wearing
3) If you have something borrowed, blue, old, new, & a penny for your shoe have those nearby too!
4) Garter
5) Shoes
6) Veil or flowers/clip for hair
7) For him: cuff links & watch
8) Invitation & program
9) Flowers (have the florist deliver to you)
10) Dress hanging near a window or in a pretty open area

And, be sure to have all of the bridesmaids, groomsmen, moms, dads, and grandparents who you'd like to be in these photo nearby too! Having the people who love you around while you're getting ready is one of the best parts of the day!