The Great Question

We’re here for the pierogies.

*grins* As answers go to the great mystery of life it’s as good a reply as any. (Though 42 does rank right up there.)

I love food. I love trying new food. I love cooking food. I live – sadly – in a city and state that isn’t really known for being a “foodie” type of place. Sometimes it’s almost enough to get me to want to pick up and move elsewhere, but I make do. One of the reasons I don’t have cable is because I’d spend most of my time watching Food Network (or DIY when the boring shows are on :D ) and I’d never get anything else done.

I have done my romps through the tasteless garbage of the fast food industry. Participated in my own little version of “SuperSize Me” back in college where I packed on something like 70 pounds during my sophomore year eating Double QuarterPounders with cheese. (It’s taken me more than ten years and several attempts but most of that weight is off.)

For obvious reasons I don’t do that anymore. *grins* Sure I indulge and occasionally I forget how awful it makes me feel to eat crappy food, but on the whole I have successfully shifted my taste buds into the realm of sanity.

The clean eating movement has become more and more popular over the last few years as people in America (chiefly) realize that over-processed, sugared, white-floured food isn’t really food at all and that the quality of the food you put into your body affects the quality of your life.

I hear a lot of arguments against eating “healthy” – it’s too expensive, too time-consuming, too much effort. And in some cases I think it can be, however I always come back to the idea that when a person mentions those things they should be aware also they’re saying it’s too expensive, time-consuming, too much effort to take care of themselves properly.

And that, to put it bluntly, is a load of crap. It’s not too expensive to take care of your body now rather than later. It’s not too time-consuming to fix a healthy meal instead of eating chemicals wrapped in paper. It’s not too much effort to put together a quick salad at home instead of getting in the car, driving to the fast food joint and driving home again.

I will admit it’s not an easy road at first. Our tastebuds have become so corrupted that it takes time and effort to change them back over to the understanding of what “good” actually tastes like. But it’s so worth it. It’s so worth it to feel healthy after you eat instead of wanting to curl up and sleep (or worse wanting to die because you feel so awful). It’s so worth it to see the shift in your skin, your hair, your body just from the simple effort of eating good, clean food rather than processes junk.

As spring rolls through the land, I challenge you (if you’re not already) to seek out the farmer’s markets and buy some produce. Take it home and make something fabulous. Or you can have local produce delivered right to your door when you sign up for a farmer’s co-op. Just make a little change, start small, look for something new. I think you’ll be surprised at what you find.

K.B.

11 responses to “The Great Question

  1. raymondbolton

    It is so refreshing to hear someone extolling the virtues of eating healthily—and without getting preachy while doing so, no less! :D In our household, we find one of the best techniques for insuring we’re doing so is to buy most of our groceries around the edge of the supermarket—the produce, dairy, meat and seafood departments—avoiding the aisles down the center where the processed food is kept.

    • Yup, shop the periphery. You’ll avoid most of the processed stuff.

      I don’t like being preachy. :P It turns people off and realistically people are going to eat what they want to eat regardless of what others say. You have to choose to make the change.

      Now if I’m cooking in my house, people are generally going to get something good for them. But if they’re responsible for their own dinners they can eat whatever they want. I’ve learned over the years that just because my husband wants pizza for dinner doesn’t mean *I* have to eat it. :D

  2. We in the Seattle area are blessed with the Public Market down on Pike Street, a fixture in this city since 1907, is not only a great place to buy fresh veggies, fish, and locally made delicacies, it’s also a blast to go shopping there. Belva and I love the farmers markets, too. Healthy eating can be good for your body and your soul.

    Wally

  3. Okay..take 2!

    Portland is a foodie-heaven! I’d pack on so many pounds, it’s not even funny!

    I do think that being able to open a package as opposed to washing, chopping, and cooking veggies (and then cleaning up the mess) is a lot easier and faster. But, I don’t think it’s worth it!
    Taking the effort to fuel our bodies with healthy goodness now is going to reap so many benefits as we get older.

    The one caveat to that, of course, is that genetics can sometimes be damn right unfair. A good friend of mine had an uncle that was an avid rock climber, all around adventurer, and healthy vegetarian to boot. He died of a heart attack at 57.
    If we look at stories like this it’s easy to see how some people may become discouraged or even jaded by all this healthy business. This is especially true, I think, with the Big C. There’s this whole “What’s the point? I’m going to die anyway” mentality.

    Which is sort of dumb because why would anyone want to make decisions to speed that process up? :P

    I hold firm to the idea that eating right and working out regularly certainly won’t hurt us in the long run -at least not when compared to making unhealthy choices. Genetics are what they are for some people, but at least we can do everything we can to *not* help them along. :P

    • *laughs* Yay, post!

      I do think the genetic lottery is a bummer. It’s so true you can do everything “right” and you’re still going to die anyway. It’s a given, and worse it could be something not even related to your health.

      I look at it like I love the way I feel and even if I die tomorrow, I can do it knowing that I was living the good life. :D That’s what it’s all about for me. (well that and the whole Zombie Apocalypse thing)

  4. For those of us blessed with grocery stores and the means and money to get there, I agree with your post whole-heartedly. I’ve slowly been making the change to healthier, fresher food myself over the last several years.

    I’m going to apologize up-front for the rant, but this is a MAJOR pet peeve of mine.

    Unfortunately, great swathes of this country are food deserts where the only accessible means of getting any sort of food are convenience stores or fast food joints and the people who live in these areas are, for the most part, the poor – people who work long hours for crap pay just to pay the rent and utilities and whatever they have leftover is what goes towards food.

    Even for those poor who have access to a grocery store, they’re more likely to go for the high (albeit empty) calorie foods because it’s cheaper and they don’t have to spend an hour preparing it.

    Not to mention the initial expenditure of stocking cabinets with basic staples. IF a person is lucky and has the extra money/time/energy to try and prepare meals from scratch — a bag of white, processed flour costs $5 for a five-pound bag versus $8 for a three-pound bag and the same approximate cost breakdown goes for processed sugar versus raw sugar versus even healthier sweeteners which are outrageously expensive and white rice versus long-grain and wild rices. Spices range from a couple of dollars a bottle to $15 for a tiny jar of cardamon.

    Nevermind the fact that fresh fruits and veggies can be quite expensive depending on the season and they spoil fast and need to be bought on a weekly basis. I just did a bit of research and there are no food co-ops in the area which deliver food. There are a number of farmers markets, but they’re only open one or two days a month (On Saturdays) for four hours at a time. Nobody who works weekends is going to take precious time off from work and lose pay just to go to the farmers market.

    Again, I apologize for the rant, but there are millions of Americans who really *can’t* afford to eat healthy no matter how much they may want to. Eating healthy is a luxury that is denied to far too many people.

    • That should be $8 for a three-pound bag of unprocessed flour.

      • raymondbolton

        Education is also a factor. While my wife and I are certainly more affluent than most Americans— though hardly rich—that was not always the case. But thanks to scholarships and a college education, even when I was poor—and I have been very, very poor—I have always eaten well. A long time ago I learned one can leave the market with a couple of bags of produce and some cheap cuts of meat for far less than the same number of bags filled with TV dinners and canned crap. Even eat more, better and cheaper that way than at fast food “restaurants.”

    • I agree with you to a point. As I pointed out, I don’t think it’s *easy* by any means, nor is it always cheap (both in time-cost and money-cost) but I think there are enough options even in local groceries (and believe me I lived in one of those “deserts” for years growing up where the closest grocery store was a 20 minute drive into the small town nearby) where you can make some adjustments/choices that aren’t all processed foods.

      Can a person afford to eat completely healthy in those conditions you mentioned? No, most probably not. But a person can make some small changes/choices and if that’s the best you have to work with, in my opinion at least. it’s better than nothing.

      The sad fact is that this country is the triumph of convenience and processed food. We have supported and encouraged faster, “better” tasting, calorie-dense foods over nutritionally dense foods that take time to prepare. We don’t pay people a living wage so that they have to work until they’re exhausted and don’t have the energy (or time) to find healthy alternatives to the crap that’s available on the shelves.

      It’s a sad state of affairs, but I think the only way to fight against it is to continue to talk about ways to make things like this more affordable, more accessible, and especially show people that there are ways to make a healthy meal that’s cost effective and easy to prepare. :)

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