Information overload: 12th-18th May

posted May 22, 2012, 1:04 PM by Dinner Lady   [ updated May 22, 2012, 1:07 PM ]
The other day I was walking past our local deli and saw them advertising their "local ham". I automatically paused to look at it.  Maths Geek, who is reading every sign available to him at the moment, barked it out loud, and said something along the lines of "Oh, that's good. It means they haven't used much petrol. Petrol is going to blow up the planet".  And I felt glad that we live near "good" shops that sell "good" food, and pleased that Maths Geek has some, albeit limited and rather naive, awareness of our specie's impact on the planet's wellbeing.  

But as we walked on, I got thinking more and more about what we define as "good" food.   When we started the Four and a half bellies challenge, we felt it was important to adhere to the current holy trinity of ethical eating: local, seasonal and organic.  And yet, over the past seven or so months, the more I read the more I realise it is not as simple as that.  For example, you could buy unlocal seasonal food, such as the Brazilian figs.  Or the local food may not be organic.  And is locally grown food that may not have had the benefit of sustainable agriculture "more good" than food that has less agricultural impact but has travelled far? When I read about genetically modified food, ethical vegetarianism, seasonal food and so many more food systems issues, I realise that for every argument, if you flip the coin over you might uncover a totally different opinion.  

I have a somewhat geeky desire for the "facts" and science behind the headlines.  Since starting Four and a half bellies, I have tried to find out a little more about the "true" data behind the opposing ethical arguments in the hope that this will help me make more informed decisions about how I feed my precious bellies.  Now I feel I should admit to something here. When I studied for my degree, I visited the library, opening real books, photocopying journal articles to take back to my desk  and wrote the occasional letter or postcard home.  And that is what I feel comfortable with to this day.  I enjoy the family ipad for sending emails and posting on Facebook, but I could never imagine sitting on the sofa reading a journal article through/ in/ on it, or its Kindle cousin.  It was last year that I wrote my first tentative Facebook status update and I have only just put Four and a half bellies on Twitter: a concept I resisted, am still trying to fathom, but ultimately caved into because every other website seems to have an array of link buttons to press.  

The internet and social media, I know, is such a source of information, and I have tried to embrace it, learning all about blogs, domain names and search engines.   With these new found skills surely I should be able to find all the facts, figures and formulations I need with a click of my wireless mouse.  And yet, I find myself struggling to get to the bottom of this information overload.  It is like a pyramid. If I search for information on an issue, I start with a plethora of information, some of it obsolete, some I don't trust, some irrelevant.  The higher I climb this pyramid, the more relevant the information becomes, but at the same time, meaningful and specific information becomes more elusive. 

Waste not want not

Rotten or gone off - nothing!

left on our plates - 1 corner fairtrade pineapple chunk (TKN said it had a little brown bit on it and refused to eat it: I had no energy to argue); a few tbsp PB's meal - she had a horrid cold/ tummy bug and was off her food; 2 tbsp TNK beetroot soup

left overs I have forgotten to use up - 4 tbsp pilau rice from 4th May


Carry forward          £248.08
Local supermarket      £27.70
Vegetable box          £19.40
Local grocer           £1.00
Service station supper £8ish
Service station shop   £15.25
Total May so far       £319.43

We are already now over our monthly food budget with over a week still to go. This week's stop at the service station for emergency meal for the boys and impromptu shop purchase from Mrs Doubtfire who was worrying about an empty fridge at home has really not helped.  It is hard to stick to a budget when out of the ordinary events happen.