How Did We Get So Far From an Unprocessed Way of Eating?
I’ll tell ya how: the family unit broke down. This isn’t newsworthy; it’s a common fact. But until we take the American family back to basics socially (one parent works outside the home, one manages the home, a village helps raise the children), there isn’t much hope for healthful eating.
I used to be a working mom (outside of the home) and it.sucked. Know why? I didn’t love it. At least, I didn’t love it enough to want to continue the working mom thing. And I was concerned with raising our family in a simplified, unprocessed, way but, damn if that wasn’t stressful when I was pumping breastmilk twice a day at work (in my classroom in a high school–not some private office–my classroom, with a blackout curtain and fear in my heart of a surprise visitor). After standing on my feet all day
educating entertaining teenagers, I’d get home with three hours to spare before my son went to sleep for the night. Some days he would be an angelic snuggle-bug, happily sitting in my BabyHawk carrier while I made dinner. More often than not, the transition from caregiver to Mommy turned him into a crazy demon beast running at the open, hot oven. My husband has a long commute, so he would get home with even less time before bed. So, does this motivate me to bake my own bread or order Chinese?
And we must not have been alone our situation when you take into account that, according to the U.S. Dept. of Labor,almost 50% of American families (in 2010) had two parents working outside of the home. Essentially, the likelihood of churning out unprocessed food every night of the week becomes very slim. A recent survey revealed that 1/3 of Americans don’t know how to cook, and also found “not wanting to clean up” as the main reason for NOT cooking. Been there–and I know how to cook, I own a dishwasher, and I have a supportive, able-bodied husband. Eating becomes a chore–just add it to the list.
On Friday I talked about how frustrating it was to shop for October Unprocessed and about how it must be incredibly difficult for those who are uneducated about food to make wise dietary choices. When most of what’s marketed as “food” is really processed versions of food, and the supermarket shelves are lined with such choices, it’s quite obvious why American health is in the state that it is: people are trusting the advertisers because they just don’t want ONE MORE THING to have to worry about.
So, I get it. I get why formula becomes the norm instead of breastfeeding. I get why a meal-in-a bag (frozen, restaurant, whatever) becomes dinner. I GET why everything is disposable, scented, pre-fab, pre-made, artificial. There’s a market for it; it makes our lives easier.
But, my friends, WE HAVE TO REGAIN CONTROL.
When you choose a widely-marketed product over something hand-crafted on a smaller scale (and this could be food, clothing, toys, etc.), you are allowing someone else’s agenda, usually “to make a profit,” to interfere over your own desires for your family. Do we want our children to be a part of some company’s marketing ploy? Is it okay that formula feeding, chicken nuggets, candy as snacks, overblown birthday parties, brand name clothing, and instant EVERYTHING is the norm?
No matter your family situation, it’s time to take back ownership of your family. Take back your POWER. I say, start with food. When you eliminate the artificial that goes in, you’ll be less likely to care about the artificial that is on the outside.
So, considering my own situation, am I suggesting that everyone have one parent stay-at-home and take care of the children and the cooking? If possible, yes, yes, yes. If not, then I suggest doing SOMETHING: take a cooking class, watch Food INC., commit to six nights of unprocessed dinners, do Meatless Mondays, ask a family member to take your kids for an hour while you bake bread…Even if the only change is that you stop eating instant rice–just get re-energized about food!
What change can you make today?
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