In a grand experiment just to see if we could, about a month ago Husband and I decided to try our level best to avoid genetically modified foods, processed foods, and soy. Folks, I’m here to tell you it ain’t easy. And it ain’t cheap.
You see, nowadays most of our food is trying to kill us, and not in the caveman chased by a sabre-toothed tiger sort of way. When you look at the sweeteners, artificial ingredients, preservatives, dyes, and Frankenstein-like lab creations that are in most all of the food that is readily accessible and affordable for most of the populace, it’s no wonder that we, as a nation, have grown fatter and sicker in just the last 20 years. We are slowly being killed by convenience.
So what’s a girl to do?
Get informed. Was your food created in a lab or grown in a garden? Are the chickens that laid your eggs part of a monumental commercial production or did they ever get to go outside and eat a bug? Is your meat full of growth hormones and antibiotics? I remember when the only thing genetically different about the produce I ate was which farmer we bought it from.
Read the box. Husband and I have become label readers of the worst sort, clogging up the aisles at the grocery store while we scan ingredients and nutritional claims. Sometimes I have to whip out the old smartphone and Google something. What is xanthan gum really? Cyanocobalamin? A good rule of thumb is to buy products with the least amount of ingredients possible. And if you can’t pronounce it and don’t know what it is, chances are you shouldn’t eat it.
Shop local. Patronize your local farmers’ markets. Be part of a community-supported agriculture group (CSA). Get those summer tomatoes that are still warm from the sun and get to know the person who grew them. You don’t have to march up and down the road in front of Monsanto in protest. Just spend your money elsewhere, like in your own neighborhood.
Grow your own. You’d be surprised how much food you can get from just a small garden! My one fig tree yields more than I can preserve, pickle, and dry. If you have too much, share with your friends or learn to can. It’s easy. Freezing is even easier.
Cook. It’s just as easy to bake a potato as it is to microwave a cardboard container of a frozen something that claims to be food. And it’s a whole lot more satisfying. If you think every meal has to be a gourmet extravaganza, get over it. I have fallen victim to marthastewart-itis in my day, admittedly. But I’ve come to realize that sometimes a fried egg and a piece of toast is really all you need.
Now I’m not claiming that I’m all that and a bag of chips cooked in genetically modified corn oil. We’ve strayed over to the white bread side of life a time or two. We still frequent our local Mexican restaurant with alarming regularity. (They hug us we go there so much.) And I’m pretty sure that tonic water is not considered a health food, nor is the gin I mixed with it. It is, after all, summertime.
The point is we’re trying.
Say you find yourself at a Shell station in Livingston, Ala. And say it’s been a while since you had a salad for lunch. It’s easy to find a healthy snack even there. Look past the honey buns and Bugles. Avoid the 100 Grand, the wax lips, and the jerky. I have found the perfect snack with only two ingredients. Plus it has a Bible verse on the package so it must be alright.
Well, what did you expect from a Southern girl?
(Note: Notice anything about the Bible verse?)