Did you grow up eating homemade dinners?

Do you make dinners from scratch now?

Do you even think about food or what you are putting into your mouth?

I think about food a lot.

Because I really like food… I enjoy eating it, and I really do enjoy the process of making it.

But I think so much of that must have been shaped by the way I was raised. Right?

My friend Liz sent me this blog yesterday:

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/08/is-eat-real-food-unthinkable/

I know that many of you won’t take the time to read the article so here is the summary. The writer expresses frustration with the government. They state that we need to improve our diets (our collective American fatty diets are a leading cause in the spikes in the cost of our healthcare, the drastic increase in the rate of preventable disease, and the list goes on and on); however, the government is unwilling to specifically call out meat industries or sugar industries. Why? I think you know why, my smarty-pants friends. There is too much risk for government officials to call-out large campaign contributors. And no, this isn’t some crazy Leah conspiracy theory.

My very smart friend, Liz (same Liz as above) also introduced me to Michael Pollan a few years ago. This man is about as smart as they come when it comes to food. Do you know him? Have you read his stuff?

If you are at all interested, I would highly recommend his book  In Defense of Food. It will remind you of what you should be eating and why.  Pollan tells us that if your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize what you are putting into your mouth as food, perhaps it isn’t the best choice. His basic rule is “Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.”

Why?

Because that is what our ancestors have eaten for the ages.

Food cannot and should not be broken down to it’s nutritional components. Whole foods- you know spinach from the ground, a potato, carrots, beets, eggs, etc- are the best, best options for us.

The problem?

People use the “no time” excuse. So, rather than investing in long-term health, consumers will often choose the convenient choice. But what do you really get with convenience?

In my humble opinion, the price of eating healthy is the biggest problem we are facing. It is much cheaper to feed a family crap. And that, my friends, is a real problem. And one that I don’t have the answer to.

I don’t know a whole lot on the topic, and I’m certainly not claiming to be an expert in any way, shape or form. However, I know that when I am committed to making food from REAL whole food sources, I FEEL better after eating them. It does take more time and planning to eat vegetables (that are still tasty) than it does to eat Cheetos. But I think my long-term health, waistline, and well-being is worth it.

I know that is easier said than done when you are a picky-eater or if you have picky-eater kids. Now, I am still weeks away from having a baby that I am responsible for feeding (outside of my own body); however, I once was a kid. So, that makes me somewhat of an expert, right?

Growing up, I ate a diet made up of whole foods. How did my parents do it?

There. Were. No. Options.

If we were hungry, we ate what was set before us.

My mama was not going to even entertain the idea of separate meals for her kids. Truly, I cannot even IMAGINE requesting a separate meal just for me from her.

Yes, I choked down asparagus with great drama and flair as a kid. And I lived to tell about it. And guess what? I love the stuff now.

And yes, I sat at the table until my chicken breast was a cold lump on my plate. But eventually I choked it down to fill the void in my stomach. And guess what? I like that stuff now too.

And Lord have mercy, my mom even made us eat fish as a kid. Oh brother. All five of the kids would make faces, plug noses, chug water or milk, and somehow live to tell about it. It was borderline torture. But guess what? We all survived. And we all (well 4 out of 5) love seafood now too.

And today I’m exceptionally grateful to my mom for being diligent about making us eat what was served.

And I hope I have the same resolve as a mom.

Because she shaped my view of food. And what was acceptable to eat.

If you don’t care about healthy eating, there is little I can say to convince you. But I will say this… eating whole foods really does make a slim waistline MUCH MUCH easier to obtain and maintain. Simple as that. Your body knows how to process whole foods better than it does foods composed of enriched flour and corn syrup and artificial flavors. Your body knows  how to absorb the nutrients it needs to fuel your system, and then rid yourself of waste.

So, I shall now step off of my pedestal. Look, I’m not perfect. I eat a Cheeto from time to time. I also have been known to grab a not-so-great-for-you-but-pretty-yummy junk food burger on occasion. But this is the exception.

I think the power of good, quality food is stronger than most of us realize.

So, tell me your thoughts. I’m really truly interested.

Lots of love to you,

Leah

P.S. I would like to apologize for all of the fine folks at Cheetos. I do think you made a fine processed salty treat. But let’s be honest, your product really isn’t nutritional albeit finger-lickin’ good.

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