playgroupolitics


Fresh and Easy ain’t so easy
August 13, 2008, 8:05 pm
Filed under: food, mommyblog, Uncategorized, west valley phoenix

I was so excited to have Fresh and Easy open near me.  Convenient, healthy, pre-made meals, that I could just stop and grab on my way home.  Because it was owned by Tesco, a British company, I was hoping for some international flair.  Well they do have samosas and frozen Indian entrees.  But what a disappointment! 

The store is communist era spartan, with a warehouse feel, in a small store space.  The pre-made food isn’t that healthy (white rice instead of brown, for instance) and not very kid friendly either.   Despite touting themselves as environmentalists, they give you more plastic bags than you could shake a stick at for your groceries.  And, they plastic wrap fruit (four apples plastic wrapped together–Why?)  And, there’s not really a good enough selection of everyday stuff to do your regular grocery shopping.  So, Fresh and Easy is definitely an extra trip.

On the bright side, is that they have good sauces (like Thai peanut sauce), the frozen Indian entrees mentioned above are tasty, and whole wheat pizza dough which I haven’t been able to find elsewhere  is admittedly awesome.  Did I mention cheap wine?  That is a plus.  Also, their economic woes are my gain, as they give out a $5 off a $20 puchase coupon every week and, discount aging items 50%.  Do I care if my watermelon is past its sell by date?  No I don’t.  However, I predict that Fresh and Easy won’t be long for this neck of the woods (Phoenix West Valley).  You’ve got to be junk foody and mass appeal or go whole hog organic earthy crunchy international.  Can’t please everyone you know. 

What prompted this post is a nightmarish trip I took there yesterday with Q (almost 2) and T (almost 4).  It’s self serve check out.  Fine and dandy, but if you’re buying liquor or you’re using a coupon (and I was doing both) you need a salesperson to come and enter things for you.  This may be an effecient use of me by Tesco, because they don’t have to pay me to check out my groceries or to wait for their salesperson to view my license and enter my birthdate, but it’s not an efficent use of Tesco for me.  Also, forced to self-scan my coupon, I heard a reassuring beep and assumed all was well.  It wasn’t, so since I wanted my bleeping  $5 off, I had to get a void.  Meanwhile my children are losing it, screaming and running away and refusing to sit in the cart.  Did I mention how hard it is to scan and bag your own groceries with two small cranky children to keep track of?  Admittedly this is my fault, as I made this stop post daycare, and I should have known better.  By the time we got out of there we were no longer fresh or easy, but rather cranky and pissed.

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Alli–nope there’s still no easy way to take off the pounds
August 5, 2008, 8:58 pm
Filed under: fat, food

Like lots of people, I’m always looking for a shortcut to take off that last 10 pounds (does it still count as the “last” ten pounds if there was no first 10 pounds?).  I’ve got the slow creep over the years.  I blame kids, not because of pregnancy baby weight, but because I can no longer fit in the daily step aerobic class like I used to.  Also, I live in AZ, where God forbid you should walk to anywhere other than your car. 

So clever me thought I’d try Alli.  It’s advertised for the seriously overweight, so for the thin-for-America type like me it should work like gangbusters, right?  Wrong.  In sum, Alli causes you to poop out the fat.  One pill=25% of the fat of the meal you just ate.  It’s not cheap, but hey, neither is liposuction.  & I hate to say it but you can have nice hair, nice clothes, and a pretty face, but nothing counts as much as being thin.  You know it’s true.

Alli didn’t work.  Sure I pooped out some nasty fat (you can see it).  I only took it once a day, because I figured I wasn’t eating that much to begin with and I didn’t have that much weight to lose.  I took it once a day for 3 months.  My conclusion?  It made me hungry because I didn’t have the full feeling you get from the fat.  And consequently I would eat more.  And I was hungry!  So, as I doubt I’m the only one with this clever idea, let this be anecdotal evidence for you, that someone with the same brilliant idea as you has already done it.  And it didn’t work.

On to my new shortcut attempt:  Special K protein water.  It’s supposed to keep you from feeling hungry.  I think it does.  It tastes pretty good too.  If only it could keep you from getting bored.



food, the new opiate of the masses
January 30, 2008, 3:49 am
Filed under: fat, food

Why are we so fat as a nation?  There are a couple of reasons, two of the biggest (so to speak) are that we have lifestyles that include no exercise and that food is the cheapest entertainment going.  My lifestyle, like many Americans, includes no exercise as a means to anything other than exercise.  In other words, I can pull out of my garage, drive to work, drive to pick up the kids, pull back into my garage, and have had no other exercise than what it takes to walk inside whatever building I have parked outside of.  I can’t walk to the store, to the coffeeshop or to the park, I have to drive, unless I want to talk on a major road with cars whizzing by at 50+ miles an hour.  The only exercise I do is exercise for exercise’s sake–going to the gym, going for a bike ride or going for a walk–not to any particular destination or for any useful purpose other than exercise.  When physical activity is a means to an end–walking to work, walking to a store, walking to a friend’s house, it’s a more natural part of the day.  The times in my life when I have lived a less car-centric life, semester abroad in London, on a military base with no car in Korea, have been the times I’ve been the thinnest and probably the healthiest. 

The second reason why Americans are so fat is because food is cheap, plentiful, easy and fun.  No skillset required to participate.  For $5 I can get a fastfood burger, fries and drink.  This actvity is one we can all partake in, no matter what age, fitness level, education etc.  Any wonder that the poorer you are the fatter you might be?  What other entertainment is as cheap and easy as unhealthful food?  You can’t play a round of golf for $5!  Everyone talks about the French paradox–it’s more than a different way of eating, it’s a different way of living, it’s less driving and more walking, it’s more sidewalk cafes and less drive throughs.  We need to build communities that aren’t merely “bedroom communities” but ones where that are pleasant to walk and bike in, and that the walking and biking can be linked to everyday activities rather than just exercise for exercise’s sake.

I’m trying to think of a way out of this, I know there are places in the US where the walk/bike lifestyle is doable.  But the surburbs of Phoenix just ain’t one of them.