I have so much to write about, but this is the 4th attempt to form an update on the last 9 months and I still can’t get it right. A lot of things have changed, but most importantly, my perspective on food and cooking have changed. Hopefully, they have evolved. Food has become more than just something to consume and create with. It is a political topic, an issue of public safety and a path to health or health problems.

It all started with a doctor’s visit back in January. It had been a while since I had been to the doctor, and it was time to have blood drawn and tests taken to evaluate my overall health. I wasn’t in the worst health but I could definitely stand an improvement. The next day I opened an email from my doctor with my blood test results. It was a fair shock to my system. My cholesterol levels were pretty high and were a concern to my doctor. I thought I was too young to have to be concerned about something as out of sight as high cholesterol, but I knew I had it coming. My tiny mother, who ate mostly rice and vegetables everyday, had always struggled with her cholesterol. She made changes to her diet, took vitamins and supplements and then was later put on a medication. The feeling of panic began to creep up on me. Was that to be my fate as well, a pill everyday to keep everything in check? I made a decision that week. Things had to change.

I began to study about food, not just drool and fantasize about it but really study it. My years as a student and all around poorer individual have helped me to become frugal with food. I’ve learned how to seek out bargains, cook with whatever scraps I had in the fridge and the pantry and shop economically but frugality can sometimes be more about gain and less about benefit. Food was meant to nourish and if I really understood and researched food, it might be able to help me avoid the health issue that was beginning to plague me. Don’t get me wrong – I still drool and fantasize about plenty of food creations and anything delicious, but now it was getting personal.

As I began to study about food, I began to learn more about how food had a darker, dirtier and scarier side to it. Sure, I had heard of Supersize Me, Morgan Spurlock’s documentary on America’s addiction to low-quality fast food and how it was slowly killing us. Yes, I had seen video clips of Jamie Oliver’s crusade to improve school lunches for children in England and how his campaign was becoming international. But with food recalls of everything from eggs to spinach and ground beef to jalapeno peppers, is was becoming apparent that food was now a political issue. Government had always had a role in making food safe for people and establishing dietary guidelines but now it there was so much more to regulate, monitor and enforce. Despite many political issues, food was something that effected everyone, worldwide, despite any other external factors. If you are human, you eat. A new kind of hero was added to my list of admired chefs, food bloggers and foodie celebrities: Food activist.

As I attempt to continue this journey with my foodblog, there will be a few more things added to the mix. I’ll still be frugal as hell, that has been ingrained in me since childhood. Good, healthy food can be made on a meager budget but no amount of monetary savings will ever shield you from poor health and the damage that can come from misinformation or absence of information. Thus, in addition to keeping with the original theme of this food blog: healthy food on a budget, I want to add more nutrient-rich recipes and pass along food news that will effect your pantry as well as your well-being.

Here’s to your health, may you never have to take a pill to keep things in check.