Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Food Disconnect

I've been a fan of food for many years. I know that sounds dumb, because, well, I've been eating food for over thirty years now but what I mean to say is that I am a foodie. I'm not keen on the word foodie, but I like food a lot. I like cooking it, thinking about it, eating it, growing it and so on. I actually really enjoy the so-called 'chore' of grocery shopping.

I am not a picky eater and believe if there is a food you do not like that you should force yourself to eat it until you do like it. With some notable exceptions of course. No need to force yourself to like deep fried pork fat. Work on spinach first. I did, and now I love it. It was worth the suffering of the first couple of meals to get to this place. Just think, your 10 year old self didn't like beer either. But you made yourself get over that, didn't you?

It was the first of many food experiments. I'm a solid raw red onion lover now, and I'm totally over my feelings towards dark rye breads. I have never uttered the phrase "I can't eat that because...." and I worry about how I will feel doing it. I don't like being picky or fussy.

I'm thinking about it because I've discovered I am lactose intolerant. Yes, discovered. For the first time. I found out after trying this elimination diet - not one designed to lose weight - but one designed to help me figure out what foods were making me feel ill. For a while I was convinced it was red meat. Then I realized, my worst fears were true. It was dairy.

I love cheese. Cheese is potentially one of the greatest human inventions. It tastes good on everything and really makes the inedible edible. It was with great sadness that I accepted the reality that I might not be able to eat much cheese anymore. I know, I know, there are pills for this. But they are expensive. And since I'm also the sort that is cheap, that's a factor. I also have a thing about taking medications when it is unnecessary. I figure, if I can eat less cheese, and eat it carefully following much research into what the safe kinds are, then I can do without those pills. But after today's grocery trip, I'm not so sure.

Modified Milk Ingredients were everywhere. In things I did not expect to see them in. I knew about the ingredient - I had learned that lactose is lower in 'real' cheese and dairy products, ones that are fermented and actually processed the correct way (processing is not always evil, talk to brie if you want to know why.) I was searching for real ingredients on my favourite dairy products which were deemed low lactose in the case that they were 'traditionally' produced. I was searching for MMIs to know what to avoid. Fake cheese pizza. Fake creem ice cream.

What I was not aware of was how often they were placed into products that simply did not seem like they should contain dairy. Bread, ok, maybe bread is made with milk. An interesting reminder. But what about granola bars? When you make them from scratch, is there milk in them?

I think someday I am going to write my first book and it will be about my theories on the danger of the two-tier grocery system. I've been mentally writing it since I first worked in a grocery store at 15. I saw it happen then. Bad food, unhealthy food, is cheap. Good food is expensive. Good food makes you healthier, smarter and feel better. The rich just keep getting richer. The poor keep eating worse food, with more chemicals and additives to keep the food affordable.

A fantastic example is a simple one. A pizza you make at home with quality ingredients such as real dough, real cheese and real veggies (not canned) will run you in the ball park of $15 to make, and that is a conservative estimate. It will be delicious and healthy. A frozen pizza - even the good kind - will run you about $7. So if you are struggling financially, and trying to feed two children, which will you choose? Will you stop to check if the so-called "cheese" really contains milk? What if it actually contains oil, sugar and powdered creem? The average person in this situation - most people really - would never even stop to read the ingredients. Well, now I have to, and I'm quite shocked at the number of products that have the stupid things in them. Shocked and irritated. Here's to hoping they become the new MSG.

Some info on MMIs:


“Modified milk ingredients” is an umbrella term for a variety of milk ingredients such as casein or whey. Milk is the building block for dairy products, such as yogurt, ice cream, butter and cheese. Since milk may undergo changes during the processing of these foods, with some of its components concentrated or removed, it cannot be called milk on the label, therefore the term “modified milk ingredients” is used.

Under current law, only a limited amount of fluid milk and cream can be imported tariff free
into Canada. "Modified milk ingredients" are a different story. That name can mean
just about any product that was initially part of milk, especially including the following:
• skim milk powder
• milk protein concentrates
• milk protein isolates
• casein
• caseinates
• whey protein concentrates

It's possible to make products such as cheese and ice cream using only modified milk ingredients and no fluid milk or cream at all. If you think ice cream is necessarily made from cream, or even milk, you’d be wrong. Indeed some ice cream is made from those ingredients, but most is not. Most commercial ice cream on the market today is composed primarily of “modified milk
ingredients,” which can mean any of a number of different factory goops that are
derived from milk. If you’re lucky, the modified milk ingredient in your ice cream is simply powdered milk.

More likely it’s casein (factory-extracted milk proteins), or whey proteins, or even a butter oil compound. The butter-oil compound, according to a recent CBC Marketplacereport, is 49% butter-oil and 51% sugar.

Modified milk ingredients, which are usually made from by-products of other dairy product manufacturing, are cheaper.

The butter-oil compound (which you will never see listed as such on an ingredients list) is particularly cheaper because it contains 51% sugar; since it is more non-dairy than dairy, it can be imported without having to pay any of the tariffs that are applied to real dairy products. In other words, it is cheaper to use imported butter oil compound than to use fresh milk from the dairy farm just down the road. Most of the butter-oil compound used in Canadian-made ice cream comes from the U.K. or New Zealand.

This is a travesty. In a time where we are making more of an effort to eat and shop locally, this kind of local “Canadian” shopping carries a huge carbon footprint from the international shipping of the ingredients in these dairy products. Secondly, you are definitely not consuming a quality product, or even a real food, because ice creams require the addition of factory goop in order to make it resemble the texture of real ice cream.

Check the labels. Ice cream composed primarily of “modified milk ingredients” is also full of various gums (guar, cellulose, carrageenan, etc.) which are used to stabilize the product and to give it a creamy feel. This applies to other kinds of dairy as well, such as some cheaper brands of cheese. (NOTE: In my shopping experience today, the price has little to do with the ingredients. In fact, the cheapest cheese I could buy contained real ingredients while the national brand contained MMIs. Read carefully.)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Listening, Local Talent

I first heard of Trish on the local college radio station. They played a few singles one morning on my drive to work. Needless to say, my day ruled, I felt hot, and I needed to find out who this Trish was.

Here's her first video.

Love the sexy-yet-terrifying look she's working in this video. Love the s&m imagery. Love the double meaning, love the grinding electro beat. Love it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Thongs for Children

As you may or may not know, I also have a blogging gig over at SFYS that is a professional blog, a marketing blog. Today I blogged about the history of thong underwear. Really, having a paid job that allows me to write about lingerie is a dream - but I'm sad that it takes away from this blog. I do have an actual life outside of the internet. In any case blogging about lingerie is pretty sweet. The reason I mention it is because the topic of thongs for pre-teens came up during my research. I glazed over it in my post - but I'd like to talk about it a bit more here.

Personally, I don't think a thong is appropriate for an 9 year old. I guess this is something that has happened to me with age. I was an early bloomer (by which I mean EARLY) and at 9 years old would have probably quite enjoyed being allowed to wear one as a means of exploring my early sexuality. But somehow in the past twenty or so years I have become quite removed from that self (thankfully, I suppose) and now have perspective on how young a 9 year old - or 13 year old for that matter - actually is.

I am all for freedom of expression and freedom of sexuality and therefore, freedom of sexual expression. I argue in favour of allowing Miley Cyrus to model in a bedsheet at 15, but I can assure you no daughter of mine will be wearing a thong at 9.

I am reminded of a recent mall visit where I unfortunately found myself in LaSenza Girl. At LaSenza Girl you can buy panties with "Diva Princess" emblazoned on the ass. These underwear are targeted to pre-teens. They made me upset. Not only because they imply you will might show off your underwear at that age, but also because you are somehow intended to be proud of being a little bitch. I guess that 9 year olds don't quite get this. But shouldn't their mothers?

So what is it that is so wrong with tweener thongs and Diva Princess undies that I find it offensive?

I have two reasons:
1. Companies that market these products are sure that you will either love or hate them for it. Don't think for one minute that the bigwigs didn't sit down and talk about the decision. Because they did. As a result of selling them, they get a lot of negative press. In the marketing world, no press is bad press, in particular for a clothing company. It is a ploy to get us saying their name - and it works. I've already said one in this post. As a result, they are making it 'normal' for girls of this pre-tween age to wear thongs, and creating an interest. After all, they claim to be 'supplying a demand', but aren't they just creating one? Did you need a thong at that age? Did it even cross your mind?

2. Girls have so much pressure in society to be a certain way, act a certain way and be sexy that they really need their childhood protected. It is not that children as young as 11 don't have a sexuality - they most certainly do - it is that it deserves to be protected along with the rest of their youthful freedoms. Sexuality - healthy sexuality - should develop on a personal level, not a public level. By this I mean that young girls should be allowed to explore their feelings and themselves without the pressure of being sexy for someone else. Certainly not an adult or anyone with adult standards. That important stage of development is what is destroyed by sexual abuse of minors, and without that precious self discovery so many women fall into the trap of being sexy or having sex to seek approval, love and self-esteem.

Outrageousness and generally shocking clothing don't get to me. The types that spout off about how this is part of a natural evolution towards more a more revealing dressing style are missing the point. It is one thing for adults to leave the house in something that only technically is a dress, I'm all for that. At the very least, that is amusing to me. Hey, we all like naked ladies, don't we? And adults have adult freedoms, and can determine what is appropriate. But children should be exempt from this. Just like they should be exempt from bikinis, heels, hair dye and false eyelashes. Children need time to be children before being adults. It's not cute, it's not amusing. It's gross.

So where do you draw the line? I say, if you are too young to purchase and wash your own thong, you are too young to wear it.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Embedding disabled by request.

Click here for a little Monday pick-me-up.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Illustrator of the Month - July

Michal Majewski died tragically this week while hiking at a music festival in BC. I suppose that is the best way to go - doing the thing that makes you happy. He was a talented musician, artist and music promoter and most of all, an all-round good guy; someone that everyone loved. He will be sadly missed by many.

I have long admired his illustration style. He was the sort of artist that made you feel jealous that he was more talented than you. He blends text and imagery in way that was uniquely his - you always recognized his style on a poster. While you might struggle to figure out what it was advertising (breaking a cardinal rule of graphic design - readability) it simply doesn't matter. His style was so engaging, you wanted to figure out what the poster was all about. That is the sign of a truly successful design.

See a full selection of his gig posters here.
RIP Michal.






Wednesday, July 8, 2009

100 Girls and 100 Octopuses

Special thanks to my dear friend SVCON for sending me this amazingness.

100 Girls and 100 Octopuses, 2005
Acrylic and metallic ink on paper: 98 parts, each 10 x 8 inches, overall 69 x 111 inches

here's the over all painting:

here are some details.




I'm in awe of this, really, fuck, it's amazing.

All 98 are worth a look, so go to the site, and to learn more about Zak Smith, go here.