Stonyfield Preached and I Was the Choir

09.13.12

Yesterday I went to lunch at the Soho House in West Hollywood. Hint, if you want me to leave my house to listen to you talk about dumb things get yourself a membership to Soho House and invite me there. I’ll never join because it’s impractical but I’ll show up at your whatever to eat good food, have great service and no attitude. I’ve never been to the NYC Soho House but the LA version is pleasingly down to Earth.

This luncheon was decidedly not down to Earth in the loveliest way. Everyone was looking their best and since 95% of the room was women we’d clearly all dressed for each other. There was hair everywhere, dresses, heels, bright colors (lipstick included), tons of vintage Chanel and warm smiles abounded. It wasn’t so much a collection of random women as it was a collection of concerned women walking the same path.

Once seated there were speakers. There’s a lady named Barbara from Right To Know that was clearly nervous but also impassioned and gave a talk about finding allergies in her youngest child who was dining on Eggos, Go-Squeeze and some other frankenfood. She did her research and became an activist. There’s a compelling Ted Talk she gave, I’ll try and find it for you just as soon as I figure out who everyone is. To be perfectly fair I was sitting in front of a white peach and burrata salad dressed with balsamic reduction. Although I felt miserable later (not part of Previlean) I wasn’t really looking up much. A girl’s gotta eat.

One speaker was riveting. Gary Hirshberg is the co-founder and CEO of Stonyfield. He gave a compelling talk about the dangers of GMOs but what was much more interesting was that his business was built on a combination of altruism and capitalism. By employing organic farmers he created wealth, by providing Americans with organic food he created health and wealth (it’s expensive to be sick) and the environments around his farmers’ lands were dramatically improved in a few short years.

Gary and Stonyfield are proof that doing good things is a sound business model.

I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about prop 37 and the import of it passing here in California. It’s a simple proposition that will cost almost nothing. All it asks is that packaged foods that contain GMOs are labeled as such. It’s similar to adding a calorie and sodium count. Eat all the crap you want, I don’t care (well, actually I do hope you’ll love your kids enough to give them real food) prop 37 simply asks that your food is labeled so you can make a decision about what you’re going to ingest.

I’d like to encourage my out of state friends to look at Prop 37 and offer it some cyber support, certainly you have facebook friends who are California voters and your influence just might matter more than you can imagine. If Coca Cola is forced to label their drinks as containing GMOs (corn is their big ingredient) in California do you think they’ll have separate bottling/cannning for the other 49 states? I don’t either.

It’s one line of ink. It’s easy.

Cotton is one of the big GMO crops and though I’ve been very mindful of the foods I feed my family I’ve not been mindful of the cotton we use.  Recently Live Good sent me a swatch of the sateen they use in their bedding. It feels like heaven and I’m wondering why I don’t spend my money there? It’s no more expensive than anything at the department stores and buying organic cotton means a few tons less pesticides are being used.

Every time I buy something organic it supports an economy that supports my children’s futures.

Which brings me back to some of what Stonyfield Gary had spoken about… apparently some of the agent orange chemicals are now being sprayed on GMO crops… I’ll need to get confirmation on this one but we’ve got a whole lot to be worried about with modern industrial agriculture.

The luncheon was lovely and there were only two bloggers there, Leah and I. Leah always wants to take pictures and I really only want to take pictures when I’m ready to take pictures because although I adore my friends I don’t need 892734893 pictures of us and I’m a 42 year old woman who could use a little lipstick before you shove a camera in my face.

If you’ve ever tried saying no to Leah you’ll realize it’s a fruitless endeavor. So here we are she’s happy to be taking a picture I’m trying to be happy for her. Oh, and there’s a sunglasses story coming up soon.

 

 

 

 

A Struggle With Conscience

03.19.12

I threw out a half a steak yesterday and felt ill. I love meat, I love steak and lamb chops, I like chicken and fish but I don’t love wasting food, particularly meat. When we have leftover green things I can toss them in a compost bin and feel absolved. I’m not absolved, but I get the feeling that I am… which is only sort of okay.

Over the years I’ve been vegetarian and vegan too. Vegetarian while eating dairy wasn’t the best I’ve ever felt. I did feel incredibly good and strong as a vegan but to be fair I was in my early 20’s and would have felt good and strong in any event. I also spent an inordinate amount of time planning my meals. I’m not interested in living that way.

These days I languish… no I anguish at the meat counter of Whole Foods wondering if I’m inhumane because I buy my family $16 a pound beef that’s grass fed as opposed to the $24 a pound beef that’s also organic. What I’m really concentrating on these days is buying the proper amount. I serve meat in 5 ounce portions… except for when Mr. G gets a porterhouse, then it’s total Flintstone style where I fill his plate and delight in watching him enjoy his food. There are never leftovers with Porterhouse Steaks.

Lately though I’ve felt stuck. Like when I handle the meat raw I don’t want to eat it, and when my kids eat restaurant food I get panicked that they’re eating the sick and dying cow that got sent to slaughter just because no one gives a shit anyhow. I can’t smell bacon without thinking of the fake pigs that are live in metal pens shitting a river below them. It’s not that I don’t want to eat meat, it’s that I want to eat meat from real animals like chickens with normal sized breasts. Remember when turkeys had more dark meat than white?

I get a little obsessive about food and when I walk through the grocery store I’m pretty sure that the food processors are trying to poison us all. Most of my breakfasts and lunches are vegan but I don’t want my life to be vegan. I just want to be able to feed my family meat that isn’t full of corn, antibiotics or disease.

I’m looking for alternatives, where can I buy sustainably farmed meat in Los Angeles?

Sayulita: The hippie enclave you MUST visit in Mexico

12.13.11

While staying at Gran Velas in Riviera Nayarit we took a few trips around the region.

My favorite day was spent exploring this tiny little town called Sayulita. It was about a twenty minute scenic drive through the mountains from Riviera Nayarit to Sayulita. The roads weren’t particularly well maintained but the forest was stunning and the slow drive down the mountain where the green canopies parted to reveal azure blue seas.

The town is a typical seaside town. The homes are small and low slung, the streets are cobblestoned and crooked. Children try to sell you string bracelets for just a peso or two and pharmacies do brisk business with American housewives looking for Ritalin and Xanax.

What makes Sayulita unusual is the artisanal community that has sprung up. When we arrived there was a farmer’s market in full force with organic and gluten free offerings.

sayulita farmers market

sayulita farmers market gluten free

Captain Pablo and his wife live in a beautiful casita right on the beach (you can see it’s gate on the top left of the frame). They are from Portland, Oregon and have two sons who are professional surfers.

sayulita surf lessons

There’s a little campground there that looks like a lot of fun for young adults (but not me) as well as quite a few rental homes. When you’re there look for the tortilla factory, if your back is to the ocean it’s up the hill and to the right. Buy a bag of fresh tortilla chips, they are a treat not to be missed.

The Hotel Des Artistes is NOT TO BE MISSED. The art gallery is amazing. You could stay there and spend your days lounging in Sayulita. I haven’t seen the rooms at the Hotel Des Artistes but I’ll give you a little glimpse at our lunch. Take a look at how they serve dessert for large parties.

On our way back to Gran Velas we stopped to watch a Polo Match with the La Patrona team. The horses were beautiful and it was fascinating as I was sitting next to a journalist who happens to be associated with a thoroughbred rescue. She was explaining to me how polo can be deadly for horses and how it’s not a sport that she’d support. But while watching the horses really didn’t corner that quickly (which is how they break legs and lose their lives) and the riders seemed very cognizant of the safety of the horses.

So we sipped fruity cocktails and enjoyed it guilt free.

Polo Grounds