Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance. -Confucius
Yep, that's me today.
But we all must start somewhere, yes?
So here it is, my Food Revolution for my family...beginning with the Goal Statement:
-We are going to eat REAL FOOD.
Too simple, right? It's anything but. If I have learned anything over these past months of research, it's the truth that finding real food in today's world of convenience food, fast food, and diet food, is a huge...well, pain. What exactly is real food and why is it so hard to find? I think I addressed the last part of that question yesterday- because it has been manufactured right off our grocery store shelves. But for the first part, the answer might be a little different for everyone, so I am going to share what I have decided it means to our family. To us:
Real Food means meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, fruits, dairy, grains, and snacks that are as unprocessed as possible, free of preservatives, unnatural additives, pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, high fructose corn syrup, dyes, and chemicals...if I buy something in a box, can or bag at the store, I want to be able to know the ingredients inside.
I honestly just got overwhelmed at the end of typing the above. I feel lost right now.
Whenever I have this feeling, I ask myself again why eating organic matters? This is where I share my reservations and the deep stuff on my heart...
It seems perhaps a trivial thing to me to be so concerned about our food supply, especially when so much of the world is starving. Is it elitist of me to demand the very best for my own family? Or should I just be grateful to have complete access to food? These questions might seem strange to some, but if you know me, you know these questions concern me greatly.
I am also a frugal person. I rarely pay full price for anything and I am not a brand snob...I will pick whatever is on sale as long as quality is comparable. I have never purchased many processed foods for our family...I honestly can't remember ever buying a box of poptarts for my girls. You may start chucking your rocks at me now, if good mothering is weighed by the amount of sugary Breakfast things we buy for our children...it's okay, I get it. My mom fed me Whole Wheat Total for breakfast, and I despised the stuff back then...and my mom just a little too. American children seem to be born with an entitlement attitude towards sugar, yes?
Back to task.
We all know organic products are more expensive, and honestly, until I did my recent research, I thought the organic branding was hogwash, employed to cause rich people spend more on everyday items...because they could. I thought organic was all smoke and mirrors.
There it is, folks, my ignorance and shame. Forgive me please. I have learned differently.
My answers to my heart-ponderings are pretty simple.
Firstly, my family does deserve the very best I can give them. If I am not going to give my best time, effort, and resources to them first, then what does the rest matter? As Mother Teresa said so well
“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.”
Secondly, as to the expense factor of real food eating...I can only say I will find ways to make it work within our own food budget...
I believe the positive health benefits will far outweigh, in cost, the investment.
There's the Goal Statement. What about the specifics? The 5 part Bullet plan which holds it all together?
Still working on that one. I have become a ravenous researcher, avid label ingredient reader...and I even managed to hold back my tears in Wal-Mart last night when I flipped over the lovely dark brown gallon of Blue Bell Buttered Pecan Ice Cream and saw high fructose corn syrup as the third ingredient. Sigh.
I love to cook however, and am looking forward to making many things from scratch. I am ambitious...and naive...enough to say I want to make our bread, peanut butter, and cheese myself, from scratch.
Yes, you read that right. Cheese.
I could be crazy. But it honestly seems so much simpler than the food war I wage now. Hint: Most moms carry a lot of guilt over what we feed our families. Do we prepare healthy meals, enduring glares and judgements from kids who just want mac-n-cheese...do we cave and purchase oreos doughnuts Fruit loops cereal bars chips pretzels soda pop...knowing these items aren't good for our children, but also realizing their peers at school bring these unhealthy non-foods to school every single day...so we cave a little. Sometimes a lot.
Bold statement: I am done playing Guilt-Ridden Mom in the Food "Stage Play of Life" in which the Food Industry manufacturers wage sugar, sodium and chemical war on my family.
I am done. I am out.
I have friends already holding ground in this quest for real food, two are Melissa Arthur and Brandon Mouser. I have already learned from them and will continue to look to them for guidance and wisdom in the future. Barbara Kingsolver's incredible book, Animal Vegetable Miracle, spoke to my heart also. She is one of my favorite authors and her family's brave and humble declaration to end the food industry's management over their lives is endlessly inspiring to me.
And finally, my husband. While I was mostly tuning out his rants against the government and the food industry a year ago...forgive me, dear...he made a quiet stand against high fructose corn syrup. Asked if the girls and I would do the same. We complied and cut soft drinks from our diet. Thus began the journey...
Thank you husband. I know you requested our soda ban to protect our health.
Let the Food Revolution begin...