Sunday, July 8, 2012

Make a Move Monday: Rethinking Food

Three out of our four kids have special dietary needs.  My oldest son is very sensitive to refined sugar and processed food.  (As hard as I tried, our recent vacation to the Ozarks did not go without incident.)  My younger son and daughter both have dairy intolerances.  We eat differently than most of our friends.  I do hope that someday our home is rid of the diary issues.  It would be nice to mix up one bowl of pancake batter in the morning or put cheese back into our family meals.  Surprising to some however, I do not wish to return to the mornings of brown sugar Pop Tarts or Diet Pepsi and Nacho Cheese Doritos at lunch. 

Why do I wish away one diet but not the other?  It is certainly not because dairy free eating takes more work than eliminating processed foods from our diets.  I do not want to return to our old eating habits because my whole thought process about food has been changed.  The more that I learn about food and our bodies, the more that I am convinced that real food must be the foundation for any diet.  (Allergies and intolerances will alter the diet from there.) 

Answering the question “Why eat real food?” in a paragraph is quite a daunting task, but here I go:  I believe that if we want our bodies to perform properly for as long as possible we need to fuel it correctly.  It makes sense to me that God has created food to naturally have the nutrients we need.  We cannot (and should not) try to outdo His genius.  Egg Beaters should not replace eggs.  “Made with fruit juice” fruit snacks are not equal to a serving of fruit (even if it says so on the package), and margarine cannot replace good, old butter.   At their core high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors and colors, hydrogenated oils, and many of the additives and artificial preservatives we manufacture are trying to outdo nature.  They are a contortion of real food made to fit our current food trends (low-fat, low-carb, low-cal, low cost, etc) rather than our nutritional need. 

The human body has responded to all of this relatively new food (in the history of the human race Red 40, MSG and high fructose corn syrup are "new") in some major ways.  We are very addicted to an unnaturally sugared diet.  As our country’s sugar consumption has increased so has our weight.  Many diseases are linked to the obesity epidemic in the US.  Good, healthy foods are in competition with their deceptively colored and flavored counterparts that are void of health benefits.  People become nutritionally starved choosing the brightly colored fake stuff over the good food, and immune systems suffer.  Processed foods do not contain the benefits once put there by the Creator.

Ironically, we are more obsessed with food than ever.  Diets and super foods grace the cover of magazines and are the topic of countless news stories.  We are obsessed with food not in a “give us this day our daily bread” kind of way but in a strange “I can tell you the fat grams, carbs and calories in my hot pocket but otherwise have no idea what ingredients I am actually eating” kind of way.  If you step back and look at it, it is very odd.

 “Rethinking Food” will be a series of discussions reconsidering the food we eat at each meal asking is this “Real Food?”.  What exactly is “Real Food?”  Google gave me this definition: “Those that nature gives us, plants, roots, fruits, nuts, seeds, meats, eggs, milk and those made from it. Fake foods are those that human beings create trying to imitate the natural food.”

I really do want this to be a discussion.   What do you think about real verses processed foods?  What hang ups does your family have with a real food diet?  What does your family eat?  What are the ingredients in those foods?   A dialog is so much more fun than a monolog so I hope that you comment here or on Facebook!  Next week we will be specifically looking at breakfast foods. Please join us!

NOTE:  I hope that as a reader you never hear a judgmental tone at Simply Made Home.  We are not perfect, nor (in light of this post) do we eat perfectly.   My goal is to relay information and in this series in particular encourage others to evaluate food choices and maybe look at nutrition in a different light.  I truly believe that food is an area of stewardship that balances health, money and time in a way that may look different for each family.  I never intend to leave others with a feeling of discouragement because they don't do it "right," but to encourage changes that might need to be made. 

OK, it is time for a link up!  Please let us know what simple move you are making toward healthy living in your home. Link up your blog post, or just leave a comment. Then take time to be inspired from other's link ups and comments.
Please read through the rules for those participating, and thanks for your participation.

1) No linking to giveaways or promotions for affiliates or sponsors. Give aways and promos are great, but they expire. I will delete giveaway links or promotional links.
2) Keep things simple and healthy. Avoid recipes with "cream of x soup," processed cheese or corn syrup. Crafts are cool, but unless they help organize or simplify please don't link them.
3) Link back to SimplyMadeHome.This is common blog party courtesy. It also helps build the community of encouragement. Check out other’s posts and leave a comment! It is fun to hear from others.
How to link up to your post? Read below.
Using the Mr. Linky, link back to your specific post, not just your blog.
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Your Name: Tara @ SimplyMadeHome (Simple Vinegar Switches)
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  1. I am going to enjoy your blogs on real food. My husband and I have started on the road to more real food and less processed. The first thing I have done away with is processed lunch meat. Next will be cookies, etc. I know in this area my husband will have a problem but just baking more banana, blueberry breads will help and give him that sweet treat he is looking for.

    1. I keep going to really dark chocolate for my sweet treat! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I think your paragraph does a great job of answering the "why eat real food question." God didn't create high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils! He created beautiful whole foods for our nourishment and enjoyment.

    It's true that many people seem to be trying to outdo God's creation by processing and modifying foods to make them "healthier." Like you said, it's so bizarre that people can list off the number of calories and fat grams in a processed food but have no idea about what's actually in it!

  3. Love Lori's comment. I feel the same way.

    I started the switch to real food a few months ago. Realizing that food has a huge impact on our health was a real eye opener for me. I also love that I eat less now because my body is getting nutrient filled food so I stay fuller longer. I have also noticed that I rarely crave sweets now too, what a bonus!

    1. That's great! I found real chocolate so I am still eating some sweets. I am a work in progress!