Saturday, February 27, 2010

Food, To Go or To Not Go the Organic Way

In life, I think we tend to go in wide loops as a society. Sometimes we veer off of those loops and maybe start on a new one. An example of this would be, in my grandparents' generation a lot of them smoked and drank through out their pregnancies and it seems most of our parents turned out just fine but the industries realized that there were detrimental side effects and started a trend to removing those two habits from a pregnant woman. A second example, would be when my kids' doctor first started practicing medicine (30+ years ago) it was okay to start feeding a baby rice cereal at 2 weeks of age! They found, though, that the feeding of rice cereal early on could cause digestive issues so they moved it to the age we know now, 4 months.

I was blessed and had a mom who stayed home with us. She cooked us dinner every night. We ate tacos, spaghetti and a lot of times our normal meal was some sort of meat, a starch, a veggie and a salad. My husband ate similarly to this. His mom worked a little more than my mom did outside of the house but she was there to make dinners at night as well. I was able to help peel potatoes, throw a salad together, make my own tacos, etc while I was growing up. I had a mom who taught me the basics of cooking.

But as in anything our society started its way down a loop. This loop began in the 60s with the movement that women were equal to men and could do what a man did. There have been a lot of positives and negatives that have come out of this movement but one thing that came out of it was homes where both parents worked.

As we looped into this 2 parents out of the house cycle the food industry came through for us! They made so many items that are boxed, canned and frozen where if you just add water or stick in the microwave or oven after a set period of time you have a whole meal. How wonderful was that and still is for these people who work 40+ hours a week and then have to go home and think about dinner. When I worked 2 days a week, with my husband working 60 hours a week and having 2 small children those were the nights we tended to grab a pizza or find something easy. Thankfully I am blessed in another way where I have a husband who cooks as well! So if he had energy he would make dinner. Even while I was working we never ate boxed anything but we would go the frozen route some. I think when you're used to making items from scratch, especially potato items, you never go backwards to boxed. It's just NOT the same! Anyway I'm getting off on a tangent.

Now we're seeing a new trend. Or at least in my circle I am seeing a new trend. Most of my female friends are stay at home moms too. I think this tends to happen we hang out with people who are in similar circumstances to ourselves but because of my Facebook world, I see a lot of everything in my friends on there. Friends who stay at home, friends who are single parents, friends who work but in a lot of those friends I am seeing a trend towards organic, vegetarian, and other healthy diets that do not come from boxed or frozen foods. So as we start to trend to a society who is realizing that processed sugar really isn't that great for us we are seeing changes.

Trans fat is being removed from a lot of foods, we are going from white flour to whole wheat. So the industry is all ready starting to make some positive trend changes. We still have Doritos and Chipsahoy cookies that are readily available to consume. But since we are a nation founded on the principals that we are free then people get to decide how healthy or unhealthy they want to be. I do believe that people need to educate themselves and make decisions on what they learn. If they decide to eat a diet riddled in processed, fatty, sugary food that is their prerogative.

I think sometimes it's easy to think that THEY want us to be fat and eating whatever THEY put in front of us. I then wonder who THEY are. My opinion is THEY move slowly but THEY move in the directions we move. And some of us are moving in a direction where we want fruits and vegetables free from pesticides, we want meat free from hormones and antibiotics. I know some people will say look at the meat industry, it took the book, The Jungle, to make some changes but really the meat industry hasn't progressed too well. And I don't disagree with that sentiment. I'm not sure that that particular industry has a lot of interest in changing. Thankfully, though, we have options, people choose to go vegetarian and others can choose to buy meat from stores that only sell organic, hormone/antibiotic free meat. We pay more for it and may always pay more for it but we have the options. But I see the food industry as a whole, as an industry who is giant and slow moving but that it does follow in the direction that the majority of us are going.

I think buying and going organic is pricey and not always an option for everyone. But I do think even if a household has 2 parents who work out of the house that you can make decisions on how to eat better. People can cook a bunch of meals over the weekend and freeze them or people can choose easy meals to make. Eating well and from scratch only has to be complicated if you want to make it complicated. Throwing a fresh salad together with rice and a meat, if you eat it, is easy and doesn't take long. Costco sells 1 pound of organic salad for $3.69 here and it can last a whole week for a family. It is yummy, high quality lettuce and costs less than 2 of the bagged pre-made salads the grocery store sells.

I know I have been putting a lot more thought into what I'm putting in my mouth. Some days I just don't care that I'm not eating as well as I could. I will buy that bag of Doritos or make those chocolate chip cookies. But overall, my family is eating yummy meals that I or my husband put together. And it's making me more picky and it's easier to put those Doritos down if they don't taste good. So my hope is that as a society, we are on a loop towards health and knowledge and that it will help our kids not become obese with type 2 diabetes. And it will help those who are obese have hope that they can live a better, more healthy life and get some of that weight off! I don't want to be known as the most fat nation there's nothing positive in that.

And remember as I write this I am an over weight person so I'm not judging. I struggle daily with what I'm putting in my mouth. I struggle to get myself and kids outside to get some exercise and fresh air. I am down 9 pounds this year and am excited about that so I am looking to give and receive encouragement to continue to live a healthier life style.

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