A lot of us have forgotten some things, or perhaps never knew, as it relates to food. Our parents or considering the time – their parents – were raised on home grown vegetables, livestock that the family had themselves and good old, down home cooking. A meal was prepared with time and most importantly with love. Food didn’t come in a box with instructions to add water, or just to heat and serve. No. The time was taken to prepare each ingredient and to include that ingredient along with others to create a meal. Fresh eggs were in the chicken coop in the backyard.
The entire family was involved in the process, including children. There was a need to plant and to tend to the gardens. A need to pick the vegetables with a discerning eye which learned to select the good from the bad. The process of growing, caring and observing the food that was eaten gave a distinct appreciation and understanding of the life and the chain of life. Everything is alive!
Along comes the industrial age and greedy corporations who mass produced food products and included lots of chemicals in the process. Food was processed with coloring to make it look more appealing, flavoring to replace and enhance the taste because the real flavor was lost during to production process and finally, preservatives to make it last longer on store shelves. We all have access to the list of ingredients on the products that we eat. But, how many of us really look at what is in our food and research it to understand the effect it has on our bodies? Not enough of us because if we were really aware of what we were eating, we would make a stand against it and force companies to change they way they process our food.
Many Americans end up with cancer. Why? Do we look at the massive quantities of chemicals in the form of pesticides, preservatives, coloring, flavoring and other non-food ingredients that we consume over a lifetime? No. There is a no major scientific emphasis placed on such matters. If you want information about the effect of chemicals on our bodies, we have to dig for the information.
“Fast” food should be a considered a no no at all times. Teach your children healthy eating habits and about healthy meal preparation. Let them enjoy the process of preparing real food with you. Make the effort. Take the time. Start a little garden in your backyard or by growing food in pots in your kitchen! Children delight at the miracle of watching things grow. Learn together what the soil needs to be like for each vegetable or plant. How much light does it need? How often should different plants be watered? Make it their job to help care for the plants. Most young children would not consider this a chore at all. They will delight in the fruits of their labor – literally! There is nothing like growing a cherry tomato, picking it when it’s ripe and taking a bite of something they grew themselves. And when there is a nice little harvest, imagine their pride when the family sits down to eat dinner and they are eating the results of what you grew together!
With the internet and the instant availability of a myriad of recipes from all over the world, there is no excuse for not exploring diversity with meals. There is no reason why we don’t all have a greater understanding of nutrition, health and what the needs of our bodies are. We must get back to the garden of eden, or the garden of eatin’!
For a mother, who is usually the CEO of family food, there is no greater magic than the priceless results of a healthier you and a healthier family who understands that food does not come in a box. It comes from time, patience, a little bit of smarts, great healthy, recipes and lots and lots of love! Feed your family well in healthy ways and they will learn to do the same for themselves.