I saw a bumper sticker once that said, “The problem with life is that it is so daily.” I don’t know why exactly, but that tickled me and still does when I think of it.
Kind of like the way the movie, Groundhog Day tickles me. We want our days to add up to something. To learn, however gradually. But man it takes repetition doesn’t it?
I have found myself thinking, didn’t I just have this problem yesterday and now I’m trying to figure it out again? This daily-ness is teaching us something all of the time, over and over until we get it!
Part of what we learn has to do with our body’s daily need for sustenance. It is having to deal with food. Every meal. Every day. And when you are the person who does the cooking (and shopping and planning, etc.) that can be a pretty big part of life. Understatement huh?
Add to the relentless hunger of a growing family, the political/social climate we live in where every month (or more often than that) there is a new study on what is “good” and what is “bad” to eat, what the new findings from X university is showing, or what government funded research (that may coordinate with a government subsidy that may want to encourage people to buy and eat certain things…) and we find we have real confusion about what IS best to eat!
I remember reading an article that claimed that carrots were now on the “bad” food list. That was almost 30 years ago, and when I stopped trusting “the latest research” as a good source of dietary information. Common sense has got to factor in somewhere doesn’t it?
I love this dietary mantra from Michael Pollan; “Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much.”
That appeals to me so much! Partly, because I am witnessing levels of confusion that lead to a great deal of OCD-type behavior around food, and for some, a complete paralyzing shut down when the code seems too hard to crack! I had a dear client who had stopped cooking and was stocking her freezer with frozen burritos that the kids could eat whenever they were hungry because she had heard so much conflicting information, she couldn’t think of anything to cook that wouldn’t be “bad” in some way!
That is quite a hopeless feeling. And what a travesty to miss out on the wonderful array of taste, culture and creativity available to us! In many ways, food is life! We just can’t afford to miss out on that!
But I think we can all relate to the frustration to a degree, can’t we?
So, here are my two bits.
If i’ts real, and your body can handle it, find the highest quality you can afford and eat it without worry! And for heaven’s sake, enjoy it!
What do I mean by real? I mean if it grows and is part of the natural world, eat it. I hear people say they don’t want to get fat so they don’t want to eat avocados or nuts. (Know that the “fat makes people fat” trend is over.) Be concerned if it is refined, man-made, food science-d, chemical laden, artificial flavored or colored.
If something can sit on a shelf for months or years and not get rancid or grow bacteria, it isn’t food.
Good rule of thumb; shop the perimeter of the grocery store and you’ll be getting more “realness” than in the middle where the cans and boxes with commercials printed on the labels reside.
Go for fewest ingredients possible, and those you can pronounce.
Make your own bread or find a simply made brand. (For fun count the number of ingredients, and do your best to identify what they are, in a loaf of commercial white bread.)
Put butter or olive oil on your steamed veggies, and enjoy them!
Garnish and flavor food with meats and or make meat servings small and not part of every meal. A little goes a long way.
Get good at cooking beans and legumes and rice and keep some on hand.
Eat regularly and prepare meals before everyone is in starvation mode.
Snacks aren’t usually necessary but consider four meals a day for little ones if that makes sense for their needs.
Prepare and serve the same meal to everyone. Grind little people’s servings in a baby food grinder so that they can break it down (without too many teeth.) Kids don’t need separate meals of packaged macaroni and cheese and peanut butter and jelly if they are given the opportunity at a young age to eat and appreciate real food.
Model eating and enjoying real food to your children! They are listening and watching and learning from your habits! Do your best not to have hard fast rules about what you do and don’t like. Give them the freedom to like things without feeling that you won’t approve. THEY WANT TO BE LIKE YOU. Yes, this requires broadening out your own taste buds! Experiment! Open up and take a few eating risks!
Get curious about new tastes! I was in my late 20’s before I tasted coconut milk with peanuts, cilantro and curry, and wow, what a joy!
Learn to make nutrient rich desserts and make them beautiful too! It is wonderful to know that there are “treats’ to look forward to eating that will help you celebrate special days and events.
We’ve got to shake loose from the worry and crazy-making rules regarding our food. And in order to do that, it seems to me that our society has got to shut off the marketing and hype, tie on an apron and make friends with real, nourishing, family-bonding food.
I wish you every good thing!
“I love myself. I take the time I need to cook for my family. We love eating together. I simplify this part of my life by planning what we will eat each week. I love real food!”