Hi! My name is Eileen and recently I started another blog, my first ever blog, starvingkitten, just a couple of months ago. That blog is a forum in which my husband and I share some of our recipes and culinary creations.  We started it because we love to cook (and eat) and do so quite often and we wanted to share our recipes with the world. So, why then am I starting a whole other blog within months of that one? Good question. Although starving kitten has been a great source of fun in the past couple of months (and I will continue to update it regularly, no worries), I find that I don’t particularly read blogs like mine very often. Instead, I prefer to use my google reader to peruse healthy lifestyle blogs that focus on healthy eating and exercise. I particularly care for blogs in which the writer focuses on balancing these healthy ideals with the reality that such lifestyles can be difficult to maintain 24/7, because that is what I too struggle with. Recently, I read one of Michael Pollan’s books, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto and I became even more inspired to really take a look at my ‘healthy lifestyle’, particularly, my eating and the foods I purchase and therefore consume. I want to use this blog as place for me to explore some of the ideas he discusses in the book, such as eating more vegetables, particularly ‘leaves’ (and animal products of animals that also eat leaves vs. grains) and avoiding foods with unrecognizable ingredients, which are mostly processed and refined foods.

I named this blog Healthy Burgher to reflect several of the ideas floating around in my head. The name itself is an oxymoron in several capacities and ‘burgher’ by the way, is an homage to my soon-to-be new home city of Pittsburgh. Although I do not currently live in Pittsburgh and therefore am not an official “burgher” yet, I will be by the end of the summer and I’m married to a true, bonafide pitts-burgher and we got married in Pittsburgh, so basically I qualify already as I see it 🙂 Pittsburgh may not have a  reputation for being a healthy city, but I hope to prove that is not the case! I hope to showcase how one can maintain such a lifestyle once I move there. The second reason I chose this name was to make a commentary on my food philosophy. The (ham)burger  has always been one of those off-limits foods to the healthy eater as far back as I can remember. In fact, it was downright banished from any self-proclaimed healthy person’s diet. Is beef really the devil’s spawn? As Michael Pollan points out in his book, the reason behind Americas fear of meat, particularly red meat, and fat was partly due to the government’s attempt to reduce heart disease by lowering one of the only things that related to heart disease at the time, and could be measured at the time, cholesterol.  Animal products, particularly red meat and eggs contain cholesterol so naturally it made sense to suggest that reducing one’s consumption of these products,  would also reduce his or her cholesterol levels. It was the first time the government became ‘concerned’ with what Americans were eating and the response was to create dietary guidelines, hence the food pyramid, which recommended eating meat and fats sparingly, and supplanting the diet with carbohydrates, which are very low in cholesterol. Now, decades after those recommendations were handed down and followed by most western dieters, many more people are suffering from a variety of health problems, including heart disease (!), diabetes, and obesity, to name a few. It turns out that not eating cholesterol didn’t even lower cholesterol that much and it didn’t have an impact on heart disease either. Woops. What this diet did though was create a whole other slew of health problems (and a health-crazed country that will eat up anything ‘low fat’ no matter what it’s made of (think: margarine) and who are eating all the wrong things. So can we possibly start to think differently? Could a burger possibly be healthy? Well, I think Michael Pollan would agree with me that hamburgers are not all together unhealthy food, netither are they healthy per se, in their classic form (huge white bun on either side), but that’s the kind of thinking that I want to focus on in this project. For me, it’s about creating healthy versions of foods and my attempt to (somewhat) follow the criteria below when choosing foods and eating foods. For me, its also about balancing the desire I have to eat anything and everything  (especially those oh so good, but oh so bad, foods) and balancing health and nutrition with those realistic desires.

Here are some of the general guidelines from the book that I’d like to follow, ideally.

1. Eat foods that your great grandmother would recognize as food (avoid go-gurt for example).

2. Eat vegetables – mostly leaves.

3. Eat less meat, using meat as a side dish to vegetables.

4. Eat meat (and their by products ie: milk, cheese) of animals who also eat leaves (grass fed).

5. Eat more fish (omega 3-s).

6. Don’t eat anything with an ingredient that you can’t pronounce (ie: soy lecithin, sorbitol, maltodextrin).

7. Drink alcohol, mainly red wine (what? Yes, there are health benefits in alcohol! I just read an article in Cooking Light that suggested any alcohol, not just red wine, has benefits. Score.)

So, what does this mean for me? I am going to try to make some changes in what I buy and what I eat. I will be visiting farmer’s markets on a search for grass fed meat. Most likely, I will be spending more money at the grocery store. I will be struggling to diversify my vegetable intake and keep things interesting. I will try to eat less meat. I will eat pastured eggs. I will try to eliminate foods with ingredients I do not recognize (eek!). I will try to eat more fish.

I anticipate that this journey is going to be difficult. I am a child of the 80’s and 90’s and so processed foods are some of my favorites! Processed foods are cheaper, more readily available, and taste really good. I want to share that aspect of my struggle here as well as I know it will certainly be one for me. I understand that it may take a bigger commitment than I first realize now, but I am open to that and am up for the challenge.


One response to this post.

  1. So cool you are moving to Pittsburgh!!! 🙂


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