Path to Freedom film screening: Food Matters

On Sunday evening, I attended a local film screening and potluck hosted by Path to Freedom. They host these events in Pasadena monthly, and the previous one I attended was in December.

Now that it's spring, the potluck portion of the evening was held outdoors. Participants were asked to bring a vegetarian dish that is as "local" as possible.

I made deviled eggs using free-range brown and white eggs from the South Pasadena farmer's market, nested on a bed of fresh lettuce from my friend's organic backyard garden. The lettuce helped improve the presentation, and also kept the eggs from sliding around the serving dish while I transported them :)

The hosts provide compostable plates and utensils, but encourage participants to bring their own reusable dinnerware. One handy idea that I learned by observing veteran attendees at the last event was to bring a container with a lid, so that after you're done eating, food scraps won't soil the inside of your bag. I brought my 7-cup pyrex storage container, which worked perfectly!

This month's documentary was called Food Matters. In a nutshell, the film's point was to illustrate that proper nutrition is key to preventing health problems, and even for curing many degenerative diseases. Many of the experts interviewed for the film believe that while modern medicine is extremely adept at treating acute injuries, it is less competent when it comes to chronic illnesses. A diet heavy in raw foods and vitamins was promoted by the film, and drug treatments (as well as cancer therapies such as radiation) were criticized.

I found the film very interesting, but as with my reading of Nina Planck's book, Real Food, I tried to take a step back instead of immediately buying into everything it was suggesting. I always have to ask myself, "are they rightfully exposing a truth that has been obscured from popular knowledge, or might this also be propaganda?"

One of the recurring themes in the documentary was that cooking foods destroys a lot of the beneficial enzymes, and that a diet should be predominantly raw - at least 51% of every meal. I wasn't sure if this was by volume or weight - definitely not the same thing. Picture a big fluffy ball of sprouts vs. a cantaloupe...

I am already consuming raw milk, raw honey, and fresh fruits. However, I know that I personally couldn't be happy as a 100% raw-foods vegan. I haven't tried it before, but cheese and milk are huge staples of my diet, along with whole wheat pasta. These food items add an enormous amount of happiness to my daily life, and I can't give them up entirely.

Nevertheless, I have long suspected that I need to add more fresh produce to my diet anyway. I am recovering from a lifelong aversion to most vegetables - as a child, fresh carrots, cucumbers, and tomatoes were about all I would eat, along with the occasional cooked broccoli, cauliflower, peas, or corn on the cob.

A couple years ago, I actually made a new year's resolution to eat at least ONE legitimately green thing every day. Otherwise, days would go by without any vegetables being consumed at all - let alone the 3-5 servings typically recommended. I was in fact able to stick to my resolution that year, and vegetables have become part of my daily diet - in limited quantities. My taste for veggies is finally expanding, perhaps due to a maturing palate. However, I am still nowhere near eating the quantity I should be. I eat very little meat, so my meals are heavy in whole grains and dairy or eggs. Unless I'm eating a salad, vegetables are merely a small side dish.

Upon viewing Food Matters, I renewed my commitment to consuming a higher proportion of fresh veggies. One expert that was interviewed for the film - Andrew Saul - particularly caught my attention. He was very likable, and his sense of humor really showed in his interviews, and on his website as well. His recommendation of juicing vegetables particularly appealed to me.

Since I still find masticating a large quantity of vegetables each day to be fairly daunting, juicing seems like it might be a good solution for me.  There will be a lot of pulp leftover, but I'm not worried about losing fiber in my diet, as these are vegetables I wouldn't be consuming otherwise.  I plan to save the pulp in the fridge to give to my friend's hens.  I have a juicing machine on loan, and will report back on my progress!

I almost forgot to mention - each Path to Freedom film screening is followed by a brief quiz.  I remembered this from last time, and took notes throughout the film, because there is a prize for answering all 10 questions correctly!  Winners receive either free admission to the next event, or $10-off at the Peddler's Wagon store.  

At December's event, I used my $10 prize toward a set of glass food storage canisters.  On Sunday, as I approached the Peddler's Wagon table, something immediately caught my eye, and I knew exactly what to get...

Bokashi bran!  

I am almost done with the last of the Bokashi mix I had purchased from Gaiam back in October to get my composting process started.  Fortuitously, Peddler's Wagon had a tub right there at the event for... $10!  I paid only tax, and walked home with a fresh batch of Bokashi bran to continue my kitchen composting.  Excellent!

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