I love food. I love the taste of food, the beautiful colors and textures of it, the sharing of a meal with family or friends. I confess that I don’t at all care for the preparation of it, but boy do I love to eat it! Some very fond memories involve food–Thanksgiving celebrations, dinner dates, parties–and even just daily meals with my boys are times I cherish.
Something has happened to food in our society though. So much of what is called food and sold as food really isn’t food at all. It is man-made instead of God-made. It is synthetic instead of real. It is altered or engineered instead of natural. God created our bodies for real food. We need it for the vitamins, nutrients, energy and sustenance that it provides. But what our bodies need and were designed for is often not what we give them. We put a bunch of non-foods on our plate and wonder why our bodies don’t function like they should. We don’t get the vitamins and nutrients our bodies require, and then we wonder why we get sick so much. We feed ourselves things that God never intended for consumption, and wonder why disease is so rampant in the 21st century. Even if we aren’t feeling the affects of it as young people, what will happen after decades of this kind of self-abuse? Will our bodies give out prematurely? Will we have the quality of life we want to have into our later years? Something tells me that we are going to be gravely disappointed in what we find if we continue down this path.
And yet….millions of people are doing it anyway. And most don’t even realize it.
Up until recently, I didn’t realize it either. Our pantry used to look like the breakfast cereal aisle, with usually at least 5 or 6 choices–people loved to spend the night with us because of all the cold cereal options we had for breakfast in the mornings! I bought lots of processed foods: hot dogs, turkey bacon, chicken nuggets, breaded fish fillets, ready-to-eat frozen chicken sandwiches and burgers, Chinese food “kits,” Carnation Instant Breakfast, TV dinners, lunch-on-the-go meals for Rex to take to work. We ate Ranch dressing, Miracle Whip, jarred spaghetti sauce, canned soups, store-bought ice creams, and Velveeta cheese. We didn’t eat out much, but we enjoyed Arby’s and Whataburger and Chick-Fil-A on occasion. We drank sodas and a lot of Country Time Lemonade. We regularly ate sandwiches made with lunch meat and sliced cheese, with a side of Cheetos (my favorite!) Most people are just like we were because these kinds of things are the normal fare for the majority of the people in our country. We have all been led to believe, through cunning and prolific advertising, that these things are good for us, that they are perfectly OK, and that they taste oh so good! The sad reality is however, that no matter how they taste, and no matter what we’ve been told, none of these things are REAL food. Sure, a few of them have some actual food ingredients in them, but the majority either aren’t food at all, or they are a super-processed, mega-altered Frankenstein-esque copy of the real thing. And these fake “foods” are contributing majorly to the overall decline of health in our population.
One of the things I will be talking about in my blog is getting back to real food. This part of our journey toward health has been one of the most difficult because it involved giving up things that we have eaten for decades. AND it involved me getting into the kitchen and cooking a lot more. Actually a whole lot more. And I don’t enjoy cooking, so it has been really stinky some days. Real food is not always the easy route, and that’s what bogs most people down and keeps them from going there in the first place. We are a “right now” society, always in a hurry and always on the run. Real food takes more time and effort. But for us, it is something that is important enough to take that time and effort to do, and do right. Part of our decision was influenced by health issues that were already rearing their ugly heads. Part of it was influenced by friends and family who were already doing it and seeing results. But it is a decision we are committed to, and one we have no regrets about making.
In my next Real Food post, I will share a list of “food” products and additives that we have decided to avoid bringing into our home. It’s a pretty extensive list, and I have given reasons why we avoid those products, and links to articles where you can read further about the evils of each one. I wouldn’t call myself a “food Nazi,” but I am very concerned with protecting my health and the health of my family. When we are not at home and someone asks me, “Won’t it be OK for your son to eat that, just this once?” it makes me want to say, “Won’t it be OK to give your child a little drop of poison, just this once?” Of course I don’t say that (except very loudly in my head), and I realize that there are some things that (probably) won’t kill him if he eats them on rare occasions. But really, it’s that big of a deal to me at this point. There are some definite non-negotiables, and then other things that I will give on in certain situations. But when it comes down to it, I prefer to just keep those pesky non-foods out of my family’s diet altogether 🙂
What about you? Are you ready to make the switch from fake to real? Or have you already made that switch? I’d love to hear your comments, and what has worked for those of you that are on this journey with me!