If you are what you eat, she’s a giant pack of organic cherry tomatoes and he’s a frozen Tombstone pizza. Under most circumstances, some wouldn’t think twice about this analogy. But in recent months, Salt Lake has further proved it provides some of the worst food on the planet, forcing us to become much more aware of what we devour. Instead of succumbing to the fast food, frozen seafood, and wilted produce, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to be more conscious and less lazy about our meals. Here’s some food for thought…
She Says: Butylated Hydroxyanisole … Ick.
Isn’t it interesting how we develop our own personal eating habits?
I work with a gentleman who refuses to eat anything white – cream cheese, sour cream, ranch dressing. I married a man who has a serious aversion to pickles. My best friend might very well be able to live off Corn Nuts and Lightly Salted Rice Cakes. And I, for one, am Vegetarian (and might be Vegan if I could just give up the damn cheese).
I look back to my childhood with fond memories of Top Ramen, Totino’s pizza, fried Bologna sandwiches and homemade chocolate chip cookies. I also look back in terror at the thought of Spinach Fandango, Orange Peel Chicken, and some other atrocious salmon and onions concoction my Father whipped up one night.
Of course, like many, I grew out of the please-don’t-count-to-ten-and-make-me-eat-this-because-I’ll-throw-up-all-over-the-new-tablecloth stage around 12 years old. I simply put my foot down when my parents tried to make me eat something I didn’t want to. Or maybe it was my Mother saying “eat what we made, starve if you don’t,” that allowed me to get away with avoiding that Spinach Fandango she continued to make despite everyone’s bitching. Either way, that twelfth year of my life was pivotal in shaping the eater I would become.
You see, at 12 years old, my family started eating red meat constantly. In fact, I can’t really remember an evening there wasn’t some form of red meat – or any meat for that matter – on our dining room table from 1995 until I left for college in 2000.
One day, when I was up to my eyeballs in meat, I remember going to my parents and declaring “that’s the last time I eat this shit” of the $14.00 steak I’d just devoured. It felt good. I was being a brat. But for the first time in my life, I’d made a decision about what I was going to consume and when I was going to consume it. I never really looked back.
Enter my husband.
Mind you, he is from Minnesota where I think there are more cows raised for consumption than there are humans in the world. And I’m pretty sure fried cheese curds seem to fall from the sky. He grew up on chicken patties and peanut butter popcorn balls … a diet not too far from my own as a child.
However, he never completely changed his diet as a pre-teen, teen, or young adult (yes, he did try to eat only free range beef after studying abroad in Australia for six months before anyone really knew what free range meant … he gets a high five for that). But I believe he would continue to eat chicken patties and peanut butter popcorn for the rest of his life if possible. Simple. Easy. Delicious. Nostalgic.
Surprisingly, it only took us about two years together to get on the same page food wise. He quickly realized getting a “burger with chi” as he orders it, is not a necessity at a sushi restaurant – he can get the sushi. I quickly realized … well, I liked my diet and really only came to understand that preparing meat for a meat eater was perfectly acceptable. So I stopped leaving it out of his portion of our dinners and omitted the crying part when we’d grill him up a steak.
Since we’ve been in Salt Lake, our joint eating habits have become even healthier. Surprise, surprise, the food here is lousy. As a result, we don’t drink soda. We make great attempts to avoid processed foods and create everything from scratch. And as I slowly continue to break him in, my husband grows more understanding of the joy organic foods can bring, even if our grocery bill is twice what it used to be.
So what can be learned for all this yammering? Nothing. Except that everyone should try and make healthier food choices. And I think it’s adorable when I hear my husband order a “burger with chi.”
Learn more about eating healthy from inspirational blogs I like to digest weekly:
Eating Bird Food: http://www.eatingbirdfood.com/
Mindful Mama: http://mindfulmomma.typepad.com/
The Daily Green: http://www.thedailygreen.com/
The Raw Divas: http://therawdivas.com/blog/
The Ethicurian: http://www.ethicurean.com/
He Says: You Are What You Eat
I think I’m what you could call a social eater. When I’m alone, I eat only because I have to eat. Often times, I don’t realize I should eat something until I start getting a little light headed and my blood sugar gets low. Then I know I should eat. Weird huh. I enjoy well made food, though. I really do. I particularly enjoy big sit down meals with friends and family. I could sit with good food and good drink for hours. It’s just that if it weren’t for the good conversation and great company, I would probably just eat a frozen pizza while I worked on something else entirely. I wouldn’t even pay attention to the fact that I was eating. I would merely eat because my body triggered a biological reaction that said I should eat or I will become faint.
I think I’ve trained myself to be this way. You see, I don’t know how to cook. Not at all. My wife is an excellent cook. I mean wonderful. And she is extremely bold at trying new things to improve a dish or to change it in order to fit the occasion at hand. This always amazes me because I wouldn’t even know where to begin. Salt, pepper and maybe garlic if I was getting crazy. That’s all I would reach for if I was trying to spice up a dish. And even then I would most likely use them in incorrect proportions. It’s sort of sad isn’t it? I always think it would be fun to know how to cook, but it’s never been something for which I’ve had a passion. I have a passion for improving and learning in a lot of different areas, but for some reason when it comes to cooking, I think it would be fun, but I never take it any further than that. This, in all honesty, would be entirely fine to me, except that we eat three meals a day. And some of us much more than that. I have no problem with this. I have no problem with people even that eat four or five meals a day. My problem is that we no longer care about what we are actually eating. We are constantly eating. Because we have to and because we want to. But we rarely think about it.
Isn’t it silly? We eat at least three times a day, yet we couldn’t care less about what we’re eating. What’s the point of that? Speaking about myself, I am disappointed. Yes, Burger King may taste delicious in the moment, but don’t you think there’s a reason you have a horrible headache and are lethargic 10 minutes later? Aren’t you curious why the fourth meal instantly becomes Montezuma’s revenge? Obviously I am not saying anything innovative. There have been individuals in our country shouting this message from the rooftops for years, decades even. And to be clear, I’m not talking about the rampant problem our country has with obesity or overeating. I’m not speaking to that at all. I’m talking about knowing what you are putting into your body. We don’t eat healthy in our country. We look for what tastes good now and don’t worry about the ramifications of later. I guess this shouldn’t surprise me. America eats in an instant-self-gratification manner. It’s how we walk through most every day I guess. I just always hope we’re better than that.
This brings me back to my own disappointment. I am a firm believer in living consciously. I try to practice it every day. Without it, I believe, we become morose and pall. I think there are a couple hundred thousand handfuls of people in our society that could heed the advice of conscious living. I try to make a point to be aware of my surroundings and my actions the best I know how. Yet, for some reason, I ignore what I’m eating 90 percent of the time. I simply eat because… That’s it. I eat because. It shouldn’t be that way, should it? I remember a time when I was more excited to be aware of my surroundings and the things I ate. Nearly a decade ago, I went free range. I certainly was not a leader of this at the time, but it wasn’t like it is now. At that time, you couldn’t even find free range meat in any “normal” grocery store. I remember coming home for Thanksgiving one year and telling my Midwestern Mother that I was only eating free range meat. God bless her soul, she must have went to forty different grocery stores to make sure her crazy, hippy son who moved out West had turkey. But you know what? I gave up. It was too hard and expensive for a college student to succeed. (Especially when the border is calling at 2am, right?) This is weak I know, but even worse, I gave up entirely on being conscious about what I ate. If it weren’t for my wife, I would most likely eat frozen pizza, PB&J, and toast every day. I should be better.
Somewhere along the way we stopped caring about what we were putting into our bodies and we only seemed to care about the taste at the exact moment of taking a bite. Even if that taste disappears one second later, we don’t care. The solution is easy. Take another bite. Continue to take bites until you no longer want to experience the piquancy… My great grandparents consciously came to this country so that my grandparents could have the opportunity to give their family a better life. My grandparents deliberately toiled so that my parents could get an education and give their children the option of following their dreams. And my parents thoughtfully and endlessly worked so that I could mindlessly write a blog. Maybe it’s time I start realizing the options I have before me and understand what I’m putting into my body. Maybe it’s time we all should.