“I am not a glutton – I am an explorer of food”
― Erma Bombeck
Whenever I head down a food isle and see a variety of new items, I wonder first if I should try them, and then I either go into denial about how bad that food is actually going to be (fat, sugar, salt, or general consumption wise) or I become concerned about possible ingredients I either can’t sound out or that might be food allergens for my children. I almost never find products that are healthy, good for you and something we will eat.
Then the next hardest step comes; I have to try to disseminate the words on the packaging to see if they are true to their meaning or what they imply. In other words translate and interpret the packaging. When something says “healthy”, I laugh. Have you ever seen a product’s packaging that says “really unhealthy but so good you’ll eat it anyways”? When something says “healthy grains” for example, I immediately know that means they are not going to mention the amount of sugar they have added to make the “healthy grains” refined enough to come in the shape and taste they now are. Which most likely means they are no longer “really healthy”. At this point I turn over the package to look at the ingredients, knowing I will most likely not like what I see. (Sigh here).
Who has time to read the labels of ingredients on food packaging? I do a full grocery shop for the family in an hour. I tend to buy the same products mostly based on my children’s palates and their food allergies. If I had to read the ingredients of all the products I buy, it could easily double my time. And after all that, there is still the concern about all ingredients I can’t pronounce and what they mean too.
I recently discovered (I know I’m probably late to the party) a great book I can take with me to the grocery store when I shop now. It’s an easy reference guide, and a step towards healthier eating and understanding the ingredients of the food you put into you body.
I still have to decide if I’m going to buy the packaged process foods or cook from scratch, but at least I can have a better understanding about what it is I am buying for my family. After reading this, it’s easy to see that cutting calories, sodium or sugar by buying a variety of different products will lower that intake significantly over a period of time. I think this is a newer Americana version of healthier eating. This is especially useful information if you look at the Glycemic index.
As a culture, we are still very much grocery store and pre-made food dependent. But that topic is for another blog day . . .
The power is in the knowledge and in the choice. This book offers light education about fruits and vegetables, meat and poultry, and also offers a comparison of similar types of packaged pre-made foods. The back of the book offers some recipes. A great reference guide and staple for a cook’s shelf whether you are just the person doing the shopping or a health conscious eater.
I still think the farm to the table idea is the healthiest way to eat (see IanKneur.com or his cooking show “The Farm” on PBS for an example of this type of cooking and living) but for now “Eat This Not That” will have to for those of us that are urban sprawlers.