I watched an episode of Oprah last week on "The Vegan Challenge" I missed the first half of the show, so I was bummed - but what I did see was very informational.
That show helped me realize that I am personally responsible for the food choices of 5 people. My likes, dislikes, preferences and food choices directly affect not only me - but my husband and my 3 kids. WHAT A HUGE RESPONSIBILITY!
MY GENERAL FOOD RULES
In general, I felt pretty good about my food choices. I try to buy organic (but I don't go out of my way to find it), I try to introduce and serve as many veggies as possible (my kids request beets and asparagus on a regular basis - how many kids do you know that do?) and even with beverages - options here are water and milk. Every once in a while I'll buy juice boxes (that are 100% juice) or orange juice but that's an exception. Soda is a complete no-no here. About a year ago, we went out to pizza with friends that ordered a pitcher of Sprite for the kids. Feeling a little peer pressure, hubs and I let the kids try Sprite (or any soda for that matter) for the first time. My son absolutely hated it "it's too spicy" all those bubbles I guess. My daugter fell in love - sweet nectar of the earth. My 2 yr old didn't get a sample...
In the last 2 years I have completely cut out white bread. We only eat whole grain bread - unless I make the bread myself. If you are looking to switch to wheat bread that your family won't complain about, try Oroweat. My personal fav is Oroweat Oatnut (so frakin' delish!) but since we have nut allergies in our house we also always have Oroweat Whole Grain 100% Whole Wheat on hand. It really is so good - and no one complained at all during the switch over and they've never asked for white bread since. That said - I felt like I've been pretty responsible with the food choices I've made for my family.
MEAT TO TABLE
I have to preface this part of the post with a 'little ditty about Ham & Je-en...' haha. 3 or 4 years ago I bought a ham. The kind you buy for Christmas or Easter. My husband usually dissects the meat/poultry/pork. I decided that I was going to slice it into lunch meat, julienne it for salads and cube it for breakfasts, quick (kid) snacks, soups, etc. I wasn't even 1/4 of the way into this process when I realized that this was THE. MOST. DISGUSTING. THING. EVER. Being the go-getter I am - I resolved to accomplish my original goal no matter what. That lead to lots of perfectly cut ham to eat in the following week(s) and freeze BUT it also lead to a full year+ of no ham or pork product for me. I was so grossed out having dealt with that process I really couldn't even look at it for a very, very long time.
I got online and viewed some of the Oprah show I missed. I started watching the segment on how beef goes from the cow to our plates. Feeling a sense of obligation towards the 5 mouths I feed I watched as much of that process as possible. Not too far into the video, I slammed my computer shut, shivered, gagged and realized that while I want to have more knowledge as far as what I am feeding my family and making 'good' choices as far as what to feed them - I just can't go there.
Should I just suck it up and watch those segments for the greater good? What do you think??
I shared all of this with my husband and he nearly fainted when the words "Vegan Challenge" escaped my lips. So, just as I did with him - I must explain that I don't judge any lifestyle. I think there are tremendous benefits to most ways of eating. I know that for myself and my family I will never be Vegan. I personally know that my husband will never go for that. I also personally think that the protein and fat in meat and poultry is necessary in a child's diet. Only now, I am reconsidering where that meat and poultry come from.
On that episode of Oprah, she had Michael Pollan as a guest. He is an author of several books, one being "Food Rules" that I bought and have found as an interesting read. He is not Vegan. He lays his food rules out and a lot of them make sense and are practical for the average person.
A few of his Food Rules are:
Eat Food. Mostly Plants. Not too much.
Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food. He uses "Go-gurts" as an example.
Avoid food products containing ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce.
Eat only foods that will eventually rot. He uses "Twinkies" as an example of something that won't rot.
Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.
Stop eating before you are full.
The whiter the bread, the sooner you'll be dead.
Don't eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk.
Don't get your fuel at the same place your car does.
It's not food if it arrived through the window of your car.
It's not food if it is called by the same name in every language i.e. Big Mac, Cheetos, Pringles, etc.
Good rules right??
He also says "A lot of what you see in the supermarket I would argue is not really food," Michael says. "It's what I call edible, food-like substances." Another thing he says is "My research has convinced me cooking is an important part of the solution. It's the only way to take back our diet from the big companies." Smarty pants.
Through this knowledge quest I've kept my husband updated on my research. He is happy with the way I've been feeding him and the kids. He doesn't want things to change. He feels that I have been responsible with my food choices. With my updates, I mentioned that the Santa Fe Farmers Market is the only year round Farmers Market in New Mexico and that through my research, I learned that at the Santa Fe Farmers Market we can purchase "grass fed" beef - which is apparently the way to go. Go organic, go grass fed, go crazy...
Hubs surprised me Saturday morning. He was determined to take me to the Santa Fe Farmers Market to give this new fangled path/discovery a try - for my sake. We bought 2 New York Strip Steaks that were from grass fed beef as well as 2 lbs of grass fed ground beef for a total of $36. WOWSA. I posted HERE about those steaks and will post again when I use the “grass fed” ground beef later this week.
As I said – it’s a food knowledge journey for me. I would appreciate any feedback, information, research, articles, what have you on food knowledge that you have and I will continue to post my findings here for you too!