Clean Eats

I feel like all I ever see anymore are people on some kind of uber-hip diet.  All the cool kids are on the Paleo diet, or gluten-free, or vegan or “clean eating”.

For years, I internally mocked the pseudo-hippies at Whole Foods or the organic co-op…hemp this, all-natural that…  Now don’t get me wrong – I try to do things I think are beneficial to the Earth.  I am a psychotic recycler –  if it can go in the blue can you’d better not put it in the regular trash or I will cause a scene.  (And rinse it out before you put it in there!! Is that so hard!?!)  I ride my bike whenever I can, I brush my teeth with the water off – you catch my drift.  Yet, as I get older and I want to take better care of myself and my children, it’s becoming evident that the pseudo-hippies may have been on to something.

When we were little kids, it was COOL when things came in a box!!  Hamburger Helper?!?  The working mother’s best friend.  Breakfast cereal?!?  That’s all we ate EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  (I mean, c’mon, Fruity Pebbles are freaking delicious.)

How could we know about all the crap we were ingesting?  Were our mothers going to tell us?  Of course not, because they had no idea either.  They were busy, it cut down on their time in the kitchen and if someone slapped the word “NUTRITIOUS” on it, then it had to be.  Right??

Here’s the thing – I had to learn all of this stuff myself.  I kinda feel robbed.  Robbed of education, robbed of information and robbed of what could potentially be years of my life.  It’s not their fault…how would they know?  Their parents grew up on farms and ate what came out of the ground.  It seems crazy that it only took one generation for things to spiral out so badly.

But things are changing.  Can’t you feel it?  It feels like there is a giant shift of consciousness happening among our generation.  We are choosing to educate ourselves…about the dangers of processed foods, about the preservatives that make it possible for things to have a shelf life of several YEARS, about produce that has been genetically modified to outsmart pest control poisons.  Is there even any real food left?

I read a book about three years ago called, “This Is Why You Are Fat”.  It was a gift from my mother.  For whatever reason, I decided to pick it up and read it.  It was laid out very simply for me – when you bombard your body with chemical additives (which are in 99% of things that come in a can or a box), your body spends so much time trying to sort them out and DEAL with them that they don’t even get a chance to metabolize your fat before you put another round of garbage in your face.  We are wearing out our organs by filling ourselves with things our body doesn’t know what to do with.  Out of all the things I’ve ever heard regarding the dangers of processed foods, THIS MAKES PERFECT SENSE TO ME.

Of course that lead to more reading about other things and what they do to our bodies – I won’t bore you with them here, because this isn’t meant to be preachy.  But I will say this…we’ve made some changes in our household and we all feel better for them.  My boys have fewer ear infections, I have more energy, my skin is clearing up…and I just FEEL better.  Mentally and physically, to tell the truth.

I’m not going to go off the deep end here and forbid my kids to have cake on their birthdays (the white flour! the processed sugar!) or tell them not to take a cookie from tray at the school Valentine’s party.  I do, however, want to educate them about how dangerous this stuff is so they don’t have to find out about it in their 30’s and wonder, “HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS?!?”  I’m hoping that I’ll impart a good sense of what is “good” for them versus “really awful” for them at a young age and maybe they won’t end up like me.  Chubby, with 30-year old habits that are really hard to break.

I guess the time for rolling my eyes at the pseudo-hippies is over.  They were on to something with their all-natural this and dairy-free that…I wish I’d paid attention earlier.  Hopefully, I can reverse some of the damage I’ve done to myself and be around a lot longer for my kids.  In the meantime, I’ll see you at Whole Foods.  I’ll be the one with the canvas grocery bags.

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