Friday, September 5, 2008

Good Food is Better Than Trash Food

I know that I have harped before on the quality (or lack of it) of store bought food. But the more I read studies and hear the news about food born illnesses and contaminated meat and vegetables, the more I never want to enter a grocery store again.

As a society, we have institutionalized every aspect of our lives, right down to the foods we eat. All processed foods contain preservatives and, for some reason, high fructose corn syrup. Why does our bread need high fructose corn syrup? It only takes a spoonful of sugar or honey to make a loaf of bread. Is sugar really so expensive that a loaf of white bread from the store has to use altered sugar(fructose, dextrose, and glucose and all of other 'oses) to make a profit? And why are we eating so much bread anyway?

Wouldn't it just be easier and cheaper to fill up on high quality proteins like meats and beans, vegetable fibers like salads and fruit, whole grains like rice, oats and barley, and starches like potatoes and corn instead of serving a lot of breads that have been over processed and nutrition-deprived?

Our grandparents ate maybe 3 or 4 servings of bread a day as biscuits and corn bread, but had a lot of meats, fresh veggies, and whole grains. And you know what, they were a whole lot healthier for it. They also didn't sit around watching TV after a day of work. There were chores to do right up until dark. Then there was always stuff that needed doing inside.

Going to the gym for exercise was just laughable. There was plenty of exercise to be had in everyday living. Want to life weights? Go move a couple of bales of hay down out of the barn loft to feed the cows and mule( they weigh anywhere between 50 and 80 pounds). Want some movement to tone down those "luv handles"? Use a pitchfork to clean out the barn stalls. 30 minutes on the treadmill? Try chasing down the chicken that got out of the hen house before the dogs could get her. That takes some running.

It takes a lot of calories to work even a small farm. Just putting in a small garden is more daily exercise than most of us get. But the side affects are higher quality and freshest possible food you can get. And you will know what is in it or on it. So you are burning calories and eating better.

I remember going to my grandma's house for a week every summer. Breakfast was always bacon and/ or sausage, an egg or two, biscuits and gravy, and maybe a bowl of oats. Lunch was something like brown beans and ham or a fried pork steak, fried potatoes, any biscuits left from breakfast or cornbread if there wasn't any, and a glass of tea. Dinner would be something like chicken and dumplin's or a pork roast, green beans, mashed potatoes with gravy, corn on the cob, and a slice of pie or cake. And even after eating all of that in 1 day, we would sometimes sneak back into the kitchen before bedtime and get some more cake or a glass of cold buttermilk with crumbled corn bread in it.

Now that sounds like a lot of fat and calories for 1 day, but every bit of that was burned in the course of the day. There was always something to keep us busy. Rght after breakfast we started working outside. Hoeing the garden, feeding and watering the chickens, picking beans or berries, washing dishes, washing clothes and hanging them out, cooking and canning, sewing, helping Pawpaw in the shop. We didn't have time to sit and watch tv or get into too much trouble. And maybe that was the point. But we were always hungry come meal time.

Anyway, the point of all of this is that eating real food, regardless of the fat content, is better for you than filling up on empty calories that has no nutritional value. If you are hungry, by all means eat, but don't reach for a bag of chips or a Little Debbie. Grab a piece of fruit or some carrots. Instead of eating a couple of loaves of the fresh baked bread they give you at the steak house, get a side salad instead. Fill up on good fresh foods instead of just something to fill up that empty spot.

And for goodness sakes, stay away from processed foods.

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