Home > Amusings, Food > Sign me up!…wait…what???

Sign me up!…wait…what???

That was my reaction when my wife sent me these two links yesterday:

CNN – An inconvenient challenge: Eat ‘real food’ for a month

The Nourished Kitchen

As you may know, I’ve been trying to eat healthier as of late, esp. after watching Food Inc. and reading the Omnivore’s Dilemma. So when I read the headline: Eat ‘real food’ for a month, I thought, “SWEET! That sounds like it’s right up my alley.” And then I hit these lines:

On Day One of the challenge, blogger Jennifer McGruther gave this instruction: Purge your pantry of processed foods.

This meant everything with refined oils, white flour, sugar, low- and skimmed-milk products, margarine, processed cheeses, refined salt and dried pastas had to go.

“It doesn’t matter if the foods are organic or not. Toss them anyway,” she said. “You may well have paid good money for the food at one time, but remember, real health comes from real food, and real food never comes from a box.”

Wait….what? Throw it out? “You may well have paid good money for the food at one time, but remember, real health comes from real food, and real food never comes from a box.” But money doesn’t grow on trees either. This made me think about the old phrase, “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,” which according to Snopes is simply advice against overreaction.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like reading The Nourished Kitchen and look forward to trying some of the recipes. If you can do the 28 day challenge, more power to you! I just don’t think the challenge will work for me. 🙂

Like most trends, overreaction is the thing that bothers me about a lot of recent movements, e.g., people who throw out all their shoes to transition to barefoot running. Yeah eating healthy is in and kale isn’t just for yoga-practicing, hemp wearing, free loving hippies anymore, but let’s think back shall we?

I remember when I wanted Guess jeans so bad b/c everyone else had that green triangle on their butt. I bought some only to find that the new thing was wearing JNCO’s – which were baggy enough to fit my entire body in one leg. Today, it would probably be a relaxed fit for most kids. I remember buying a Starter jacket. Oh man, that was quite possibly the most exciting day of middle school – the day I would finally be cool like the other kids. That didn’t last long since spring was right around the corner – what can I say? My mom likes to wait for clearances. But you bet your bottom dollar that I rocked that thing until I felt like I was going to overheat in May. More recently, how many Republicans jumped on the Palin bulldog w/ lipstick bandwagon? How’d that turn out? Overreaction? You betcha!

Point is, fads & trends come and go, much like the money we throw at them. Yes, eating healthy, natural foods is a great thing, but does it make sense to subsist entirely on it? In my case:

Jenny “created and manage[s] a lively, progressive farmers market in the heart of Colorado ski country that nourishes our community.” Clearly, she’s got skills.
– Pop can’t farm and even killed an orchid which required nothing more than watering once a week. Pop’s mom helps with a small garden in my backyard but it really angers me when animals come tear through stuff. Anyone care for some fresh rabbit meat? 😛

And being a Pop, I don’t have a lot of spare time to hash my own browns or wait for my chicken to lay me an egg. Additionally, wasting food is a major issue for me. I’m Asian, so my mom would beat me silly if I threw out all of the food in our pantry, and my pregnant wife would not be pleased if we have nothing left in the house to eat. I’d love to give my daughter food that doesn’t have sulfur dioxide, sodium bisulfite, or calcium propionate, but our relatively busy lifestyle makes preservatives Pop’s friends. And you may lose respect for me on this one dear Reader, but I’ve done the sniff check on food. You know, you find something in the back of your fridge and you say, “Oh wow. I totally forgot about (food item).” Although the color has changed a bit, it’s been wrapped and kept in the fridge so you figure it’s ok but you gotta do the sniff check: if it’s neutral it’s YUM, if it’s ranc(orous)  it’s done.

This is why living in America is great. If you want to throw out all your processed food, you can. If you want to continue to eat at McDonald’s everyday, you can do that too – but sorry, that documentary was already made. As for me and my house, we’ll probably be somewhere in the middle: eating some organic chicken marinated in a sauce w/ high fructose corn syrup, with a side of Idahoan Mashed Potatoes, washing it all down with some organic milk in a cup mass-produced in China.

Still, my hope is one day that my family will eat mostly whole foods and that grocery stores will provide more choices to do so. Until then, I like Jenny’s statement to CNN: “Anyone can do it. It’s about taking slow steps, learning one piece at a time.” Slow steps…that I can handle. Like rendering lard.

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  1. Ina
    March 3, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I feel the same way! It does sound healthier, but is it really worth all the trouble? So we try to make small healthy choices here and there when we can, but we try not to make a big deal of it. And I’ve done the sniff test PLENTY of times! No judgment here! 😀

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