Days 14 and 15
It is all about the food! It is essential to our survival. Without it we would die....literally. However....not all foods are created equally and today, all foods are not even created the same as they were even a decade ago. Food over the years has been processed, loaded with chemicals and hormonally injected to the point that it hardly passes as food anymore. Even what used to be considered healthy such as farm fresh meat, eggs and milk along with garden grown fruits and veggies are often hormonally injected and pesticide grown overriding just about any health benefits they might possess. What seems healthy could actually be a time bomb ready to explode inside our bodies as it destroys our immunity and becomes a breeding ground for diseases such as cancer and heart disease just to name a few. Add to that the sedentary life styles that many of us have now with computers, video games and remote control everything and we are soon going to see our mortality rate going straight into the toilet.
If you go into just about any diet program or listen to any good nutritionist.....they will tell you that when you go shopping in the grocery stores......stay to the outside walls and not to venture down the aisles. The aisles are like Christmas morning to an excited child if you are: hungry, depressed, mad, sad or even sometimes....really happy....especially if you are an emotional eater. Aisles full of chips, candy, soda and frozen ready to eat goodies taunt and titillate all at the same time. The outside walls though are what hold dairy, meat, seafood and veggies. The bad thing.....the food on the outside walls is often much more expensive than the stuff on the aisles and all of it is perishable, where a lot of the unhealthy prepackaged food has a shelf life of infinity because of all the chemicals pumped into it. If you are a couponer.....most of your coupons come from aisle items and not outside wall items too. So if you are trying to eat healthy on a budget.....it is going to take a heck of a lot more of your budget than you might expect.
Another fun fact about your outside wall items is that even though they are your healthier choices...you have to watch your item ingredients. Not all milk is created equally. Some dairy's inject hormones while others are organic. All milk though should be pasteurized. I helped out on a dairy farm for about a year and I will be the first to say that raw milk is the most delicious milk you will ever drink but it can also make you extremely sick if not handled carefully. So....organic milk is your best bet healthwise....but it can also be as much as a $1 higher per gallon. There are also some non-milk substitutes such as soy milk, almond milk and someone said there was a coconut milk. All vary in taste and what they will taste good in. Not all can be a straight across substitute for the real thing.
When you head over to the meat area, again....pay attention to where the meat comes from. It usually says on the label. Hormones can be injected as well as water especially into hams and other pork products. You could be paying for a lot more than you are actually getting. If you really want to be sure of your meat.....the ideal solution is find someone locally who raises beef, pork, chickens, etc and who you know their feeding and healthcare practices. Purchase your meat from them and have it butchered at a butcher shop that is clean and you are comfortable with. Again....there is money involved, but it is the best way to know what you are putting on your table.
Finally your fruits and veggies. When I was a kid, my mom gardened every year and a pesticide NEVER touched her crops. She swore by a book she had which I believe was called Organic Gardening and she fought bugs, blight and everything else naturally with the likes of tobacco, dish soap and baking soda. Her gardens were spectacular and unless it came from contamination already in the ground (which it likely could have) nothing chemical was ever willfully put on her garden. Today, store produce is seldom locally grown. Much of it comes in from other countries or at the very least....other states. The likelihood of the produce being covered in pesticides and other less than healthy substances is quite high. So....if you can't find locally grown, you then look for organic. Again....you can be talking a $1 or more difference in price per weight for the organic stuff and according to an article I read a while back.....organic may not always be as organic as we would like. It might just be a price gouging tool! The best way to insure the organicness of your produce is to buy it locally....again from farmers whose practices you know and are comfortable with or grow it yourself.....organically!
While admittedly, prepackaged food is often easier and more convenient and yes.....less expensive than the outer wall stuff, in the long run it could end up costing you a lot. With the high fat, high calorie and high cholesterol add ins in the prepackaging....you can be setting you and your family up for diabetes, heart disease and cancer. It also teaches our kids to go for the easy whether it is healthy or not. The same goes with our diets of fast food. With the controversy over what places like McDonalds are really making their chicken nuggets from and Wendy's fresh never frozen burgers that in fact actually are frozen....you have to wonder what we are really putting inside our bodies in the guise of food.
Yes, I am thinking more about food these days.....but instead of looking at it through the eyes of someone needing comfort, I am looking at it through the eyes of someone needing health and nutrition. I am learning the difference between what my body wants (Diet Mt. Dew) and what it really needs (fruits, veggies, protein). Seeing food as way to sustain myself rather than a way to make myself feel good is a huge process. It is requiring me to read, research and to come to terms with myself that I could be Diet Mt. Dewing myself into the grave. Rest assured though dear readers that as I learn.....so will you. Perhaps together we will find ourselves in a much healthier place in the next 350 days!