needle & thREAD & a whole lot of reading about eating






Hello! Some sewing actually happened around here! Honestly, it was so nice to get back to it, to feel that wonderful fabric and to smell steam rising from crisp creases. I don't know what took me so long. I'm ready to binge on sewing again.

I made those Easter dresses. Well, actually, I did deviate from the plan. Instead of the Fairytale dresses, I went with the simpler Family Reunion dresses. I still love the Fairytale dress, but I didn't quite have the time or energy to commit. 

My girlies are quite pleased with their dresses. They looked so sweet Easter Sunday and these dresses are simple enough to get lots of every day wear all spring and summer. Again, I'm thrilled with the Oliver + S attention to detail. My friend Cari came over to help me with the dresses and she'd never sewn with Oliver + S previously. I think she was really impressed at the quality and clarity compared to other patterns.

Incidentally, someone asked why tracing is necessary. The way these patterns are printed, it is absolutely necessary to trace if you want to sew more than one size. The sizes overlap each other and it would be impossible to cut one without destroying another. After I trace a pattern, I store each size individiually in a ziploc bag. So, tracing is only necessary the first time. After that, it's a much simpler process. I definitely think I'll sew these dresses again, so all that tedious tracing time will have exponential benefits.

I've been reading about a bazillion nutrition books. Everyone has a slightly different angle on the ultimate "anti-inflammatory diet." I've been reading and researching deeply from the vegan end to the paleo end, considering absolutely eveything in between. It's sort of astonishing how many well-respected and well-credentialed people can have such passionate convictions about the same topic and come to such widely disparate conclusions. So, do I have one book to recommend? Um, no. Not really. Do I feel like I've wasted time reading so many? No. Well, maybe. 

I guess the thing is that I didn't really learn anything new. I've spent eight weeks taking Heather's Whole Food Kitchen workshop and reading extensively on my own and I didn't really add to my nutrition knowledge at all. I already knew how to organize a kitchen, plan menus, shop in a wholesome way. I've been feeding real food to a dozen people, more or less, around my table on a daily basis for quite some time now. I was reading nutrition books when some of the people who are writing new ones now were wee babes. Laurel's Kitchen and Moosewood philosophy framed my kitchen for years. And Mollie Katzen is often in my ear in the kitchen. I've been researching the best anti-cancer diet since--well--since before I had cancer. And that was nearly a quarter century ago.

What I learned from my experience of Heather's class is to stop looking for a person or a science to nail exactly what I should eat to prevent disease and enhance quality of life. What I've discovered as I've weighed one theory against another and kept a food diary is that I need to start trusting myself. I need to listen to my body and have a little confidence that it will tell me what's best for me. 

So, for anyone interested in {very} a broad nutrition education, here's the reading list.

It Starts with Food

Practical Paleo 

Everyday Paleo

Paleo Comfort Foods

(The paleo books are now living at Kristin's for awhile. I still highly recommend them. It was just time to pass them along for a bit.  Ironically, since passing them along, I have noticed that Kristin's Instagram food pictures are suddenly very vegetarian.)

The China Study

Super Immunity

True Food

Eating Well for Optimum Health

(Andrew Weil has long been an influence. His anti-inflammatory pyramid makes pretty good sense. I can't do grains quite the way he prescribes, but he's a good guy;-)

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (always a good go-to for gardening inspiration. Might be an annual March must-read)

The Omnivore's Dilemma

Food Rules {Herein lies the simplest strategy of all: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants}

unDiet I think this one is a good concept and her blog is probably worth a gander, but the book felt really unorganized to me. It's conversational and sort of bloggy sounding and might just try too hard to be hip and cute. Or maybe I'm just old... Still, I found myself copying parts of it to hand to certain offspring (who would have been put off by the "pinkness" of the book) and I really liked the section on cosmetics. Seriously, girls, what have we been rubbing on our skin and allowing to seep into our bodies?

Clean Cuisine. I liked this one. It drove me crazy that the authors include corn with vegetables and not grains and then really missed how ubiquitous corn is. But all in all, I like this one. 

{The raw milk books are not here. My experience with the milk philosophy and "traditional" foods was by far the most miserable physical and emotional three years ever. Milk is not for me.I've read those books, lived that diet. Not revisiting. No milk. Never.}

Also not read: Crazy Sexy Diet and MILF Diet. Both sound intriguing, based on descriptions and recommendations from people who've read them. But I live in a house with lots of people and, honestly, both sound offensive. I couldn't leave them on the kitchen counter for my grab-a-minute-or-two style of reading.I'm not a big fan of profanity. I think it's unprofessional in a published work and frankly, I think we can do better vocabulary-wise. There are so many great words from which to choose; let's challenge ourselves to express the best way possible. In the case of the latter book, I admit I had to check Urban Dictionary for the acronym. Then, I had to wonder. Did no one involved in the naming of this book understand that women likely to read it are of the age that they are mothers of teenaged boys? And then, what were they thinking? That the moms would want the book hanging out for their sons to spot? And that that exchange wouldn't be incredibly awkward for both of them? This is just weird. 

And there is definitely weirdness to be experienced in the foodie world. Lots of different lifestyles and philosophies intersect. Many people, from many different walks of life want to eat well for their own health and the health of the planet. I think we have much to learn from one another. I do offer this caveat: if you are a reader who is offended when the author's lifestyle or faith or political perspective doesn't match yours exactly, you might not want to read through the books I've listed above. But if you like to glean wisdom from the people you bump into at the Farmer's Market, that's a rockstar list of books.


I'm eager to see your Easter and springtime sewing and to hear what you're reading (and eating?)! Please a leave a link and let me know what you've been up to! I promise to re-vist the combox (and to follow links to your blogs) frequently in the next couple days if you want to talk food. Or fabric. Or both.


needle and thREAD

What are you sewing and reading this week? I really do want to hear all about it!

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