When did eating become so hard?
Everywhere we look; TV, magazine stands, Facebook, YouTube, even in the school playground someone is promoting a new “healthier” way of eating. These protocols come complete with a story about how they can cure everything make you lose 10 kilos, gain more energy and so on. A number of these so called “healthy” diets are seriously extreme, just fruit, really? No sugar, no grains, and no dairy – are you kidding me. Only raw till 4pm? It makes my head hurt.
It’s time to get real.
Now I am all for reading labels and being aware of exactly what is in our food then choosing whether the ingredients are real and recognisable but I certainly don’t think it should be something we are afraid of or obsessing over.
Do you think our grandmothers felt confused or overwhelmed by what they were feeding their families?
I think NOT – they may have worried if the meat and vegetables would stretch to feed the rugby team that had suddenly turned up or the 3 extra people that someone invited for Sunday lunch but they certainly weren’t concerned about the nutrients in their food. In my Grans house, where my Poppa was famous for bringing home people for dinner unannounced, no mobile phones remember, there was a code FHB which stood for family hold back, to ensure that the food stretched. Holding back is something else we can learn from our grandmothers, portions certainly don’t need to be as big, our plates should be divided into quarter’s with1 x ¼ protein 1 x ½ vegetables and 1 x ¼ carbohydrates – it’s not rocket science and sticking to this makes eating higher quality produce more affordable.
One of my sisters has a number of allergies and she found that people stressed about cooking for her, her very sensible advice was it’s not hard just cook like a granny, real food, meat and salad or vegetables, simple dressings, good nourishing food does not have to be fancy.
We have been marketed too very cleverly making us think that we can’t possibly make decisions about what to eat on our own. Do we really need the heart foundation or the dietary guidelines or Pete Evans to tell us what healthy looks like? I may be talking myself out of a job here as obviously people come to see me to do exactly that, to look at their diets, to figure out what changes they can make so they can live their best life, to cut through the crap so they can start somewhere to feel good about what they are eating.
Looking at diet as part of our overall health is one of the last things we do, and often only when we are unwell and have consulted doctors and specialists trying to get to the bottom of why we feel out of sorts. Ancient wisdom would have looked to diet first, I believe we could learn some pretty big lessons for our forebears.
Ok rant over, how can we reverse this crazy trend of overwhelm, confusion and being scared of what we eat.
Here are my ideas
- Get back to basics and back into the kitchen. Stop outsourcing your family’s health to so called experts and big marketing companies.
- Start cooking from scratch, it doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming and by association you will naturally be eating less additives and nasties. Start small, bake muffins for morning tea instead of buying them this week or roast a chicken for sandwiches rather than buying scary rolled chicken from the supermarket.
- Develop a relationship with the butcher, green grocer and cheese shop (couldn’t resist adding this one), that way you are supporting a local business, can ask advice about a different cut of meat or a new vegetable. It might cost a little more than a huge supermarket but learn to be frugal I promise the taste will be worth it.
- Develop a repertoire of 5 – 10 dishes that dishes you can make without thinking, without fancy ingredients and put them on high rotation. Every dinner doesn’t need to be Instagram worthy.
- Stop feeling guilty or stressed about food and do something to address your concerns, guilt is a wasted emotion in my opinion.
- Sign up for the Cut the Crap; find the food solution and lose the guilt challenge – if you have 5 minutes to spare each day, about the length of time it took you to read this, then you can achieve surprising results, take back the power in the kitchen and reap the health benefits.