Once upon a time, when I was a child you could still buy real food without a second thought. Dinner time in my home was a respected institution. A time when we all came together no matter what the other demands were on our time. It was when my parents could keep an eye on whether my sister and I were doing well in school, who our friends were, and what we liked doing with them in our free time. A daily barometer check that all was well, and a time set aside to know we were important in each others lives.

Family dinners long ago

Although, the way we as ate as a nation was about to change rapidly. Fast food became all the rage. It was exciting to watch the numbers grow into the billions of McDonalds hamburgers sold. Successful advertising made me think of the jolly Colonel Sanders with his Kentucky Fried Chicken as an extended family member. Even when we ate at home convenience ruled the day – vegetables came from a can, and TV dinners (although not in my home) became the norm. Along with it came the breakdown of the family dinner – an important institution in which families stayed connected, and children learned socialization skills and manners.

Multi-tasking and mindless eating on the run became our way of life, and eventually dictated the breakneck pace of life our society leads today, which in turn demanded more convenience. Then women’s’ lib hit, we became double income households, and the demand for convenience exploded.

Connecting with Tatjana over dinner was always a priority

At the same time, the way our food was being produced took a sinister turn. Food may still look like food, but while it filled our tummies, it also started making our waistlines expand along with growing rates of chronic diseases, because it got further and further away from being real food. We were too busy rushing everywhere and grateful for the convenience to take the time to care about these practices. The food industry had become big business with the all mighty profit line growing under the guise of convenience.

Suddenly common sense was no longer enough to guide us as to what we should and shouldn’t be eating. Conflicting reports started popping up in the news – did anyone ever stop to question who was paying for all those studies? Since when did government officials know better than mom about what should go on our plates to keep us healthy? But there again, moms stopped being mothers, and started letting their children dictate the family menus, because it was easier than arguing after a long day at work. Just to add to the confusion – the very labeling we think we can rely on to know what’s what, really only serves to confuse us further.

Do you care if the soy you eat is grown from GMO seeds? You should.

I’ve been urged by several people to endorse prop 37 – legislation here in California that will require genetically modified food to be labeled. I’m not sure why I should be so quick to jump on a bandwagon for labeling while other countries are banning the practices altogether as unsafe? Furthermore, I don’t think any of those people have actually read the proposition.There are so many absurd loopholes in the legislation that render it virtually ineffective for anything other than creating a false sense of security, and dangerous abandon of consumer responsibility for being aware of what goes on our tables, and the future of our food industry.

Know where your food comes from and how it made its way to your table

Ignorance may be bliss, but it will not save your health. Learn why you should be concerned, because voting with our dollars (ie. boycotting food production practices that threaten our health such as GMO foods, the use of hormones and anti-biotics, harmful pesticides, etc.) will make a much more effective and lasting impact than my vote on a poorly written proposition. Be willing to pay more for food that will keep you healthy, because trust me – the medical bills will be much more costly and unpleasant in the long run. Most of all SLOW DOWN, think about what you’re eating, where it came from, and how it made its way to your table.

Still enjoying dinner at home with mom and dad today

Okay, going back to the leisurely days of my youth may be unrealistic, but sitting down to dinner as a family again is entirely within reach with the Personal Chef Approach™. Learning to shop, cook and eat more thoughtfully and efficiently is your ally. Making healthy homemade dinners that go from fridge to table in minutes on busy weeknights, over highly processed convenience foods with tons of preservatives is a good first step in the right direction. What other actions will you take to get back to eating real food?

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  • October 9, 2012
    11:10 am

    PCA completely transformed my kitchen – the first time I went shopping with my grocery list from my menu plan I was shocked at how different my shopping cart looked – MOST of it was produce.

    PCA has taught me to be responsible for what goes into my family’s bellies.

    I learned from interaction in the Forum with Julie Anne and her members that organic is the way to go because it’s a step towards being responsible for your and your family’s health.

    Boycotting with dollars is a no-brainer. Just choose wisely! I learned how to do that through my premium membership.

    And also, very importantly, my family now does sit down together every night for dinner. Before PCA? Didn’t happen.

    • October 9, 2012
      4:18 pm

      It’s so easy to take family dinners for granted, or to make excuses that there are more pressing issues demanding your time, but you never get that time back, and what could possibly be more important than family? You’ll never regret making this time for them, Jodi!

  • October 9, 2012
    11:50 am

    Fantastic and so timely! It seems like every other day you hear about someone being diagnosed with another horrible disease. I sat with my own mother in the Cancer centre 5 years ago looking at the hundreds of people there that day… all ages, sexes, backgrounds and body types and was astounded at the number of people there that one moment. My mother must have noticed to because she commented: “this has GOT to be what’s in our food. I have no doubt.” When I started cooking for my children, I made their baby good from all organic ingredients but our plates remained the same. Not to be rude but my husband would be quick to dash to the bathroom after eating meat although he has eaten it all his life. I was serving chicken burgers from the frozen food aisle in a pinch and it was still taking forever to feed cranky, tired and hungry kids and they never finished. Enter Julie Anne and things changed overnight. Not only cooking every meal and completely skipping the frozen section other than for a bag of peas the odd time, I started looking into local farmer’s markets and a butcher. Luckily, the farmers market is nearby. If it isn’t in season, they don’t have it. Local garlic and shallots too and although it takes more planning than going to the grocery store, the produce is lasting longer and is fresher. You can taste what local organic produce is like. The butcher has been around for 50 years and although it isn’t the prettiest joint in the world, the staff take the time to educate me and to let me know “don’t think we have this each time you come in, we get this delivered only on Tuesdays when it’s fresh from this guy out side town”. HUGE difference there. My husband reports the taste is a huge difference and it’s no longer making him sick after. Planning and having things cooked ahead of time is my life saver now. I am aware and I am prepared. In our house, Julie Anne is the boss. LOL

    • October 9, 2012
      4:26 pm

      So true, and so sad and senseless that we save pennies eating factory food, then spend months and years suffering and paying doctors and hospitals through the teeth when it can so much of it can be avoided by making informed food choices.

      The landscape of how our food is produced would change again if more people shopped like you, Rachel. If that bottom line slips due to people spending differently, their production methods will change to meet that demand.

  • October 9, 2012
    2:26 pm

    I miss dinner time with my family. I was forunate enough to be raised by a stay-at-home Mom and working Father together in the same home. Seems like a rarity these days. My favorite meals include veggies from my Dad’s garden. He doesn’t grow many now since he’s in his 80s, but I love knowing that they came right off the vine and into the oven. Btw…how did your Dad manage to wear a sweater that matched that painting behind him? Coincidence?

  • October 9, 2012
    4:28 pm

    I miss it too, but fond memories of it are etched in my mind forever. I’m sure that is why I do what I do for a living – my own daughter is grown and flown the coup, so I thrive on feeding other people’s families now.

    Hahaha – didn’t even notice the sweater until you mentioned it, and I doubt dad planned it that way, but you’re right!

  • October 10, 2012
    4:46 am


  • October 10, 2012
    3:54 pm

    I did a major shop on the weekend and was surprised to see that 75% of what it contained was fresh fruit and veg. I love to grab an apple and an orange for breakfast each morning and I feel better for having done that. Molly actually ate a couple of little pieces of chicken one night, first in her little life. Eating fresh and real can and does change your outlook on food. PCA makes you focus on what you’re eating and on what is healthy for you. Can’t ask for a better health plan than that!

  • October 10, 2012
    12:32 pm

    Thank you.