Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Take back the kitchen!

My friends, we are under attack and our survival as a species demands we fight back.  I look around at the grocery store, restaurants and on the streets and I am saddened to see what we've done to ourselves.  We're literally eating ourselves to death.  Human beings will become extinct if we stay the course.  Dramatic?  Perhaps, but simply true as well, and so very preventable.  Would it happen in my lifetime?  No.  Would it happen in my children's lifetime?  No.  But if we continue this path we will eventually become too big for our own survival.  How sad to have eaten ourselves to extinction.  Normally it's the opposite, the absence of food, that causes animals to die out.  Here we could literally eat ourselves into extinction. 

So my challenge to you is this, take back your kitchen.  Take it back from the big processed food manufacturers.  Take it back from heat and serve "meals".  Take it back from drive thru windows.  Take it back.  Get back in that kitchen Momma-and Daddy too.  Your children need you to.  You need you to.  Cooking real food is the simplest and most effective way to turn the tide around.  Right now we're playing defense against the onslaught of poor quality "food" that has overrun our grocery stores.  These things you see wrapped in plastic, packaged up in boxes, with shelf lives that last longer than Lost, these things are not food.  Food provides nourishment.  Those things simply provide calories.  It is not enough to simply provide your children calories, they deserve nourishment.

Yes I get it, we're busy women now.  But too busy to survive?  Really?  I don't think so.  We've been conditioned to believe it is ok to simply heat and serve our family food filled with preservatives and dyes, loaded with fat and sodium.  We've been conditioned to believe that it isn't our responsibility to provide food for our families anymore.  We're working Moms now, we deserve that conveniently packaged food.  We've earned it!  I say no.  We deserve to be healthy.  Our children deserve to be healthy.  It is our responsibility to provide real, healthy, food to our children.  If we don't who will?  Look, I know there are plenty of Dads who cook too, but frankly, this blog will be written from a Momma's perspective, because that's what I am.  I'm a 36 year old working mother.  It's not easy to balance the workload of running a business and running a home, and my husband does not cook-at all.  He doesn't know how and he's not interested in learning.  OK, I don't take out the garbage-ever. We've been married for over 8 years now and we divided up some of those duties a long time ago and cooking is my responsibility.  I plan the meals, I shop for the food, I prep them and cook them.  It is my job.  Back at the beginning when we first created our little family I relied on boxes of pasta mix and rice mix, quick and easy packaged food.  What happened all those years ago?  My previously very fit husband gained a lot of weight.  He felt unhealthy.  I felt unhealthy.  I'm quite sure his son also felt unhealthy but he was just a little dude and wouldn't know how to describe what he was feeling.  I quit the crap and learned how to cook.  I learned how to make a nice pork tenderloin or baked chicken.  Learned how to make spaghetti sauce or cheese sauce from scratch.  Perfected my ability to steam veggies.  At that time I used Cooking Light as my Bible.  I loved their quick and easy work night dinner sections-although I must say I never got them on the table in the 20 minutes they think they should take!  Still I discovered that I enjoyed cooking real food.  I liked knowing exactly what we were eating.  I liked watching my family try these new dishes.  I liked that some of that weight came off.  I haven't gone back since to the mindset that I'm too busy to cook, and neither should you.  You are not too busy to live are you?  If you are not cooking real food then you are saying you don't want to live, and you're ok with your children saying the same.  It is not ok.  They deserve better.  We deserve better.  But first we must take back the kitchen.

The kitchen is the soul of the house.  It is the gathering place.  It is the place the radiates love.  If I love you I feed you.  I cannot serve my family processed foods day in and day out because that would mean I no longer loved them.  I love them enough to want them to be healthy and thrive.  Not just survive, but thrive.  It's a constant battle though.  I do battle every single day against the advertising onslaught from sugary cereal makers, granola bar manufacturers and soda ads.  It's a war I take seriously.  Not long ago my 6 year old son begged me for some new cupcake cereal.  Yes, because cupcakes are so obviously a breakfast food right?  I said no every time he saw the commercial and fixed his big brown eyes on me, begging, and batting his insanely long eyelashes.  Why?! He'd cry!  Because it's not good for you, I'd say.  Finally we were in the grocery store cereal aisle and he spied them.  It's like a beam of light broke through from the heavens, it was practically a spiritual moment for him!  He grabbed the box and made one last ditch effort to convince me that yes, cupcakes are a breakfast food.  So I took the moment to show him the label.  I broke it down for him.  A serving of this cereal is less than 1 cup I told him.  In that 3/4 cup of cereal there is 12 grams (if memory serves me) of sugar.  If my memory is right, I told him, there's 4 grams to every teaspoon.  So I told him I wanted him to imagine taking a teaspoon, the one you eat soup with I told him, now I want you to imagine filling that spoon with sugar and eating it....three times.  How does your tummy feel now?  His eyes got big and he said to me "but they said it was part of a healthy breakfast!"  Yes, my son, that's how advertising works.  They make a lot of claims that are not true.  I also tried to explain, in terms a child would understand, how the lack of fiber and protein in this 3/4 cup serving (and really, who eats less than 1 cup of cereal for breakfast!?) would leave him feeling famished inside of an hour, so that by the time he's supposed to be sitting in his classroom ready to learn all he'd be able to focus on would be his rumbly tumbly.  He put the box back.  I was proud.  I'm his first line of defense though.  Because nothing comes into my kitchen that I do not purchase.  It's a big responsibility and one that I take very seriously. 

I've started this blog because I'm passionate about food.  I'm passionate about cooking.  I'm passionate about providing the very best start possible for my family.  I will use the forum to discuss recipes, kitchen tips and nutritional information.  I hope you will chime in with questions, comments and ideas, whether you're just starting out on making a healthy lifestyle part of your daily routine or you've been at this for years.  Make no mistake though, Mommas, we are at war.  Are you ready to go to battle and defend your family?  Take back the kitchen, that's where it all begins.

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