22 October, 2012

On eating.

I'm in a talkative mood today, so I'm probably going to post multiple times, just to keep things neat. I could write one giant rambling post, but then I would look crazy and no one would read it. And that negates the entire purpose of having a blog.

So first off, I wanted to talk a little bit about food, and eating. I think I've mentioned a few times that I have to stay away from gluten. It's not easy, and it's certainly not fun, but the consequences of ignoring my dietary restrictions and eating whatever I want to are considerably even less fun, and painful to boot. It sucks. I've been working on trying new things, though, and will probably (soon, hopefully) start dedicating one day a week to 'reviewing' gluten-free products.

It's not only that, though. The other day I was at Kroger, watching this family (all of whom were obese - children included) loading up on coke. They bought like 3 twelve-packs, and even though I was doing my best not to judge them, I couldn't help thinking...why? Why are people so dependent on sugary drinks delivered to them via an aluminum can? What's wrong with water? And then I started daydreaming, sort of, and got to thinking how embarrassing it would be to try and explain our culture to someone who lived 100 years ago.

We have these wonderful grocery stores, full of rows and rows of fresh fruit, and vegetables, year around. If it doesn't grow here, we ship it in from another country.

But that's not good enough for us; we need things broken down and made even easier. We also have bags of pre-washed, pre-cut, already mixed together salad. You can even get it with the chicken and dressing included! Fruit too, you can buy half a watermelon, wrapped in saran wrap. A cup of washed and cut-in-half grapes will cost you almost as much as a pound of the unwashed variety, but who cares?

Of course that's not even the half of it.

There's fruit in cans, soup in cans, meat that doesn't even have to be refrigerated!

Oh, right. Refrigeration. See, the process has improved immensely! You can save meat for months, other food too. Frozen fruit, frozen vegetables, entire meals that come in a box and save for months! 

But hold on, get this; it gets even easier. You don't even have to go to the grocery store. There are restaurants everywhere, small ones for fast food, bigger ones for a sit down and eat meal. You can buy a whole meal, it goes from frozen to fried in 10 minutes flat! Hot and in your hands without you even having to get out of your car. 

...Yeah. I don't know about you, but I'd be ashamed of myself. I mean, I know it's one thing to say, "Well, that's progress, that's how advancement works," but I don't think easier access to crappy food really counts as progress. Greed, gluttony, and impatience, yeah, but not progress. I know that a lot of people work hard and don't have time to cook three meals a day; I'm not trying to insult anyone. I realize that when you've worked 8 hours straight, and you only have 30 minutes before you have to be at another job, or pick your kid up from daycare, or get to your night class that you saved up to take - fast food can be a lifesaver.

What I'm talking about is when you wake up, and by-pass the cereal, the oatmeal, the fruit bowl, and the frozen waffles, and then complain that you're hungry 30 minutes later and then make the decision to grab an already cooked meal because you're starting to get a headache and you don't want to cook. (I've been guilty of this, so many times.) And it makes me so mad at myself. I know better, I have plenty of food available at home, plenty of ingredients to make almost anything I want, but I'm impatient. I want it now. I've never had to go without a meal. Sure I've done it before, I've not eaten for various reasons, ranging from being sick and not hungry, to being angry and not eating to punish someone else. (Yeah, I just admitted that.) But I've never been out of food, out of money, and hungry. Never in my life. I'm incredibly thankful for that, I realize that I'm blessed beyond belief, but the point really is more about choices. About my own greed, my own gluttony, and my own impatience.

I don't own a microwave. I don't like them, I don't think it's necessary to have a meal go from frozen to piping hot in 2 minutes. If I'm really hungry, I'll wait the 30 minutes it takes to heat in the oven. If I'm not willing to wait I'm either not hungry enough, or too hungry in which case I can munch on a apple while my food cooks. I've always thought that because of this, I've got my impatience in check, but I just recently started paying attention to how many times we eat out versus how many times I cook at home. And honestly, it's an overwhelming, embarrassing landslide of a win for eating out.

So here's my point - I'm not going to eat out for 6 weeks. No fast food, no sit-down fancy restaurants, nothing. I might make an exception if we have company, or a special occasion arises, but I just want to kind of step back and see what kind of difference this will make in my life. I'll try to post about it at the end of each week, a sort of 'progress update' if you will. I think it will be good for me, good for the mind and the body.

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