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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?