Monday, May 21, 2012
Once a month I do my "big shopping" in a large grocery store. As I wander down the aisles I will sometimes see women with a look on their face that I recognize. It's because I used to have the very same look on my face several years ago. It's the "What product can I buy that will make my weight issues go away?" look. This look always occurs on the aisles where there is plenty of packaged food, most often near the cereal bars or in the cookie and cracker aisle. That's where I used to get that same look on my face, too.
I think as Americans (maybe people in other areas of the world too, I don't know. I've only ever lived here.)....... anyhow..... I think we have become conditioned to think that in packaging foods we have somehow made them better or improved on Mother Nature. I used to be looking to see if someone came up with something that was ultra-nutritious, low in calories, and low in fat, all while being ultra-delicious. Oh, and if that food also had some magical ability to make fat melt off my body, that would be even better.
What tickles me is that occasionally one of these lost-looking people will glance at my cart, as if trying to see if I have some secret ingredient. Of course, my cart looks pretty boring compared to the pretty packaged things on the shelves, so I don't capture their attention for long.
I often wish I could take the hand of those poor confused souls and lead them to the fresh produce section. Our next stop would be the meat counter, showing them how to select lean cuts (organic and fed what the animal is SUPPOSED to eat in nature, if they can afford it), then over to the dairy section to show them how to look for products that don't have added hormones or antibiotics, preferably also from animals fed what it is animals would naturally choose to eat in the wild. I'd like to teach them not to be afraid of fats from natural sources the way God made them, not the way we have changed them to be. Next we'd make a quick trip through the aisles for coconut and olive oils (coconut oil is more expensive, but for the little bit of baking I do it's a much healthier option and bakes up nicer, plus it handles heat on the stove better than olive oil), and the kind of nut butters that you have to keep in the fridge because the oil separates from the peanuts if you don't. Then I'd walk them through the bread section and show them what the ingredients list of baked products withOUT white flour in them looks like (it's tricky- companies have learned to be careful with how they word the ingredients list), and lastly through the frozen foods section where we would select unadorned frozen veggies, fruits (like berries, for smoothies), and fish to thaw quickly for healthy meals for their family. Most of the rest of the stuff in the frozen section we'd leave alone.
The fact is that there ARE magic ingredients, but we are so used to looking at them that we don't really see them anymore. Pass up the processed stuff. If a product looks NOTHING like the original ingredients it claims to have in it, it's been processed too much to be truly good for you anymore. It may not taste as good at first, but you and your family will get used to it and learn eventually to prefer the natural foods. God knew what He was doing when he made foods- He designed them to nourish our bodies. It's a little hard to improve on God.
We can't all afford to eat all clean all the time. I understand this. The things that have a longer shelf life are cheaper. I get it. But if you are looking for a magic bullet in a man-made food, you'll never find it. Buy healthy all you can afford to, and cook at home all you can (hint- your Crock Pot is your pal). Cooking at home more often will help offset the added cost of the higher grocery bill from the better foods.
You are building the little bodies of your kids to be healthy adults and you are taking care of your own body so that it will carry you well through life. Love your body with your choices- Choices that are as close to the way Mother Nature as you can. It's not an instant fix, but over time you will be glad you did.