Monday, August 27, 2012

EatUp: What is Food?

A couple of weeks ago while meandering the aisles of the grocery store, trying to decide what to bring home since I almost never make a list, I was struck by and odd notion that I am sure is not new. There was SO much food. I mean like SO. MUCH. As in quite literally a 100,000 square feet of it. From the floor to over my head. Aisle after aisle, shelf after shelf, and yet for all of these items, very little food. And by food I mean, you know, food. Stuff that grows. From the ground, and isn't in a package, or has very little packaging anyway. It made me sad and a little bit sick to my stomach. How are Kool-aid and Cheeze-its food? I saw a grocery store clerk taking what I can assume was her break as she walked toward the employee lounge with a bag of Cheetos and a bottle of iced coffee drink. That is lunch? For real?

Now, don't get me wrong. We all like the taste of junk food. I love, and I do mean LOVE, ice cream. Oh and Snickers. We bake cookies around here quite often. An occasional donut has crossed these lips, although I must admit that I never feel very good after one does. I do not want to get on a high horse and pretend that I am so amazing that I never succumb to temptation and convenience. I do. I have children. Sometimes convenience just takes priority. But I am really feeling the need to get away from that. Honestly. Just look around your own grocery and do some quick mental math on how much of what is for sale is actually food. One quarter? An eighth? It is sickening really. And sad, since I am well aware of the inextricable connection between diet and health.

So what to do? I don't know. I am hoping others have figured it out already, and I can just hop on the bandwagon. Until then, I am going to make an effort to eat food. I guess that means different things to different people. Vegetarians, vegans, raw foodies, 100 milers, whole fooders, and the list goes on...
School starts in another week and we will be back to the semblance of scheduled, organized lives. It seems like a good time to recommit ourselves to better living and to food. I think I will bloggity blog a bit more as to what I think "food" is, but for now, I am leaving it open to discussion. How do you feel about this. Is it possible to stay away from the processed food-like substances that surround us and feed our kids things that are both convenient (school lunch in particular) and real food? Go amongst yourselves, but comment afterward please, I want ideas!

Also, I am talking veggies over at TheRenegadeFarmer today...stop by.

Quote of the Day: "“The American poultry industry had made it possible to grow a fine-looking fryer in record time and sell it at a reasonable price, but no one mentioned that the result usually tasted like the stuffing inside of a teddy bear.”~ Julia Child, My Life in France


  1. My husband went shopping this week for the first time in awhile (he gets on coupon kicks), and the kids had the nerve to say, "Yay! We have good food again!" Apparently, they're tired of me telling them to eat an apple. This "good food" that they were so excited to see? Packaged. Sweetened. Processed. I'm fighting a losing battle here, L. It's very, very hard to avoid sweets when your husband plops a jar of Nutella on the counter. And it's very, very hard to get your kids to eat healthier foods when they'd far rather break out the Oreos.

    I bought some packaged stuff for kids' lunches, but I tried to stick with healthier options (raisins, 100% juice, cheese sticks). My goal this year is to do more of my own packaging: buy the fresh food, then put it in reusable containers. My victory: I sent a tiny baggie of raw broccoli and carrots, along with a bitty Tupperware of ranch dressing. They came back empty. See? Sometimes mom buys "good food" too.

  2. Dinner at Chez Cowperthwaite-Pleskoff is almost entirely made of "food" rather than packaged, processed blech. Breakfast for the adults, same thing. Lunches are usually dinner left overs. The kids eat some packaged stuff for lunch and for snacks.

    Gotta tell you, this takes a fair amount of work, creativity and money to achieve.

    Which is so odd, because when we were kids our moms would never buy the packaged stuff because it was "criminally expensive". Now, Hamburger Helper is cheap and food to make stuff from scratch is expensive. If you are poor, you no longer have any idea what real food tastes like.

    Well, that was a bit of a ramble, but just the thoughts I had reading your post. Oh, and yeah, the stores are mostly full of stuff that is processed, packaged, warehoused, etc.

    Challenging when you are trying to be good to your body.

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  4. Interesting that you mention cost, because eating the way that we eat is so much more expensive! I think that is part of my frustration as well. How do we make eating real food cost effective and convenient. I am dying laughing too, thinking about how are moms never let us have convenience foods because of the high cost. Wow how times have changed!

  5. Two things that have worked so far for me: bountiful baskets and only shopping the outside ring of the grocery store. I also go to Harmons (expensive!) instead of Wal-mart because their produce, meat, dairy etc is better and similarly priced as Wal-mart but all of their processed food, cereal, etc is super expensive! That way I'm less tempted to buy a lot of the pre-packaged and I get better produce. I've been amazed-we quit cereal before my pregnancy and I went back to it while pregnant (it is one of the few things that almost always stays down for me). Once we started eating it again that is ALL Paisley wanted to eat, ever! Same with fruit snacks and other snack foods so I try not to buy them too often because then that's all she wants! It's amazing what she'll eat if there aren't other options-I really think that's why so many moms think they have picky eaters. I too am guilty of eating out/convenience foods too though...but the pizza hut pizza we had last night was loaded with veggies and easy on the the cheese!! lol!

  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this! So often I feel like Rick and I are the only ones around here who actually care about where food comes from and what's in it. We frequently feel harassed by other ward members about trying to eat healthy, REAL food. I like to shop at Fred Meyer because they have such a good selection of organic and natural things (especially produce). I usually buy whatever is on sale (in season) and they always have things I like on clearance. They send me lots of coupons for the type of things I buy and I save a lot on gas by using my FM credit card (which I pay off every month). I also shop at the farmer's market when I can. People constantly say that they can't afford to eat healthy, but honestly, how can you afford not to? The price of disease is much more costly.

  7. I've been reading similar messages a lot lately. I have a friend who was a pharmacist, but switched to be a "life coach" (promoting real foods and exercise), saying he wanted to be the diversion and supply guy at the precipice instead of the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff -- interesting analogy, I thought? Sums up how much of society manages health issues too, don't you think? I try and analyse my cart now -- check how much of what's in the trolley is from the produce section versus the shelves of danger. Great post.

    1. Thanks for commenting...great analogy!

  8. I think this is an interesting perspective. I feel I do a pretty good job of trying to avoid processed foods. I think it probably is possible to avoid them all together, but because we live in a more urbanized society, it takes extra work. I don't think I avoid processed foods altogether, but I try to limit them and cook from raw ingredients most of the time. I don't think it's all that more expensive to cook from scratch. Of course, I've always cooked this way and never bought much in the way of processed foods and they always seem expensive to me.

  9. I've been feeling this same way, too. I try to do most of my shopping at Trader Joes and Sprouts. Somehow I feel like I am in a market at those stores...not just a big broadway production.