I’ve gotten quite obsessive about food lately…and it’s not a good thing. It’s gotten to the point that I worry about every little thing that goes in my and my family’s mouth. I obsess over whether that piece of potato or bread is going to harm my child because Robb Wolf says that grain is bad, m’kay. But wait, Sally Fallon over at the WAPF says that traditionally prepared grains and legumes are okay and won’t damage your gut. And what about the GAPS diet? Would that be beneficial? Does it really heal your GI system? Or is it just as simple as eliminating processed foods? Gaaahhh!
The topic of food and health has become a veritable minefield in this day and age. We have “experts” opining on our diets and filling our heads with conflicting information. What one advocacy group says is healthy, another calls in a “heart attack on a plate.” We have GM corn and soy lurking in every corner, and we can no longer trust the word organic. My seven year old has breast buds and I think it’s from the “organic, hormone-free” milk that she’s been drinking most of her life. I worry about my health, my husband’s health, and I wring my hands over my son’s dietary health. Where does it all end?
Growing up, things were pretty simple. My mom was not a big fan of processed food, pre-sweetened food, and medicines. We were allowed to order pizza and have soda on Friday nights. We only had unsweetened cereals. Our “kool-aid” was either the packets with 1/2 of the amount of recommended sugar or lightly sweetened Red Zinger tea. Since my mom has a vicious sweet tooth, we always had the fixins for desserts. There were always the ingredients for cookies and cakes. Hell, we were known to have cake for breakfast. We just had to make it ourselves. Since we didn’t keep a regular supply of chips, snack cakes, and other convenient snack foods handy, we didn’t really snack that much. Part of it was because mom didn’t like having it in the house. A larger part of it was that shit was expensive and we were poor. Yes, once upon a time cheap, nutritionally deficit food was more expensive than healthy food. That’s why they were treats. I don’t know when or why they got so cheap and it got to be okay to keep that stuff in the house. I guess convenience plays a large part of it. I get it. Most households have two working parents and they don’t want to/have time to spend in the kitchen baking bread and slicing potatoes for their own fries. Menu planning is tough, and this is coming from a SAHM. buying your meat and produce at the supermarket is much more convenient than going to the farmer’s market and butcher (or buying a cow).
But then we read about the pesticides, the chemicals, the neurotoxins, the genetic tampering, the abusive farming and slaughterhouse practices, colony collapse disorder and mad cow disease. We read about the hormones and the disease and how it’s affecting us and our children. We read about gut health and cancer and heart disease and diabetes. And it frightens me. Part of me feels powerless against the groups like Monsanto and DuPont and Tyson and the USDA. I know the canned answer is “vote with your dollars”, but you have to educate people first. And that’s where we’re having problems.
We have too much conflicting information. Fat is bad for you (OMG! that avocado will kill you), but this genetically modified vegetable oil is okay. Meat is murder, eat a soyburger instead. Grains are the devil, bacon! Sugar gives you the diabeetus, have some Splenda instead. Grains and beans are fine, but you must eat only locally sourced, organic whole grains, they must be soaked, sprouted, and fermented, only then will they be safe enough to grind in your personal grain mill so that you can bake your own bread. Agave! No, agave’s bad, use honey! No, all sugar is evil, you must avoid sugar at all costs. Here’s a e-course for my new diet to help you release you from your sweet tooth, it’s only $29.95. Eat only raw foods so you can live to be 100 and have a great body! Raw spinach will kill your thyroid!
At what point do we say enough is enough? With the internet, anyone can become a guru. It’s not to say that I don’t read and appreciate the information that is out there. I look to blogs for most of my research. Sure, I go to the books that have been written by “experts” but I like looking at the real world applications that are available via blog. Hell, I’m writing one myself. My problem lies with information overload. I like to see information on conflicting sides. If I read an post touting the health benefits of a raw vegan diet, I want to see information on why that might not be the healthiest way to go. (I also go straight to the negative reviews on Amazon.com) Real butter is bad for you? Okay, why? And why is this guy singing saturated fat’s praises?
I’ve been a vegetarian, I’ve done the raw vegan thing. I’ve eaten the SAD diet for years, and I also lived on a steady diet of cigarettes, bar food, and booze. I’ve done Paleo (more Primal, really) and I’ve done low fat. I’ve done Weight Watchers and I’ve counted my calories. Aaaaand…I’m done. I’m not doing it anymore. I’m going to go back to what I grew up with. Real food. I’m not going to stress out about lentils and corn on the cob. If I want to make a loaf of French bread, I’m not going to worry if it’s going to kill me via inflammation. If I make that loaf of bread and eat it and it causes pain, then I’ll know that it’s on the no-no list. I’m not going to obsess over what type of “natural” sweetener is best nor am I going to spend $15 on a small bag of coconut crystals and Whole Foods so I can make a cake with my little girl. I will shop as locally as I can, but I’m not going to stress my way through the winter since the farmer’s market’s close in October. And I will continue to buy avocados even though I know they came all the way from Mexico. And I’m going to quit worrying about food.
I will keep it simple.
I will eat real food.
If it comes in a package, it will have simple ingredients (five or less).
I will cook instead of purchase for convenience.
I can have cake for breakfast if I want to, but I have to cook that bitch from scratch, using cake flour instead of a box of mix.
I will not stress out about food. I have enough going on in my life to stress out about. Food should be pleasurable, not stressful.
That is all. Goodnight!
PS- If anyone is still reading this, don’t buy meat from Aldi unless you really have to. It has “solution”. And it tastes like shit.