Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Exclamation Point!

Once, on a bus, I overheard a dumpy-looking white woman say, "I nearly starved when my can opener broke - there was just nothing to eat!" She then went on to talk about Chef Boyardee, canned ravioli, weak wrists, and all of her weight-related health problems.

Reading Fat Land is causing all sorts of click-click-clicking in my brain. The pieces are connecting. Presidential Fitness Awards, fast food availability in high school cafeterias, Coke and Pepsi sponsorships at high school athletic events, canned, boxed, over-processed, why my mom didn't let us eat white bread, etc. etc. etc.

Eating well in the US is a learned habit. I don't think it comes naturally to us; or at least, in the last few generations. Big is normal. Most people seem to just expect it. We guzzle soda, slurp canned soups, and chow on frozen pizza and expect to live normal, healthy lives. It has been giving me the down-right creeps. The other day, I watched a girl around my age with angry red gums downing a bottle of Mountain Dew: all I could think about was her poor, sore gums. Sugar is not what that girl's mouth needed. But it is normal to live like that!

Just within the last few months, I have been looking around and thinking, "What the heck is wrong with all these people??" Why are we living like this? a. borealis has had an awakening: now that I am responsible for a little growing body, I want to ensure that he (and we) are getting balanced and proper nutritional intake. I'm not going to be satisfied with Happy Meals and American Cheese. Or [the Enemy]: high-fructose corn syrup.

I have always eaten what is considered "healthy", but I don't think I was anywhere near the nutso path I'm headed on right now. I'm glad, though. I want to get a little nutty. Eating well requires training - knowing how to cook; understanding the role that proteins, fats, and carbohydrates play; eating more fruits and vegetables on a daily basis; knowing what the body needs to function. I'd like to train my offspring to eat wholesomely; so much so, that they won't even know what a Handi Snack or Ore Ida french fries are.

I'd like them to be cultural outsiders in the realm of American eating habits. Weirdos. Unless, of course, everyone else is eating like that too. Then I wouldn't mind fitting in with the masses. But I doubt that is going to happen anytime soon, if ever.


Nicole said...

I also wonder why we people choose to eat the way they do. I was lucky to have parents that understood the importance of good nutrition and I grew up eating whole grains and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. But even if people were not exposed to good eating habits as children, I don't feel that it's a good excuse for the way they choose to eat today. It's just not that difficult to figure out how to eat foods that are good for you. The information is readily available.

I certainly eat my share of "junk food" and I know that I won't be able to shelter my own children (when I have them) from all foods that are unhealthy, but I will teach them that whole foods not only taste better but also make you feel better. If I succeed in that, I feel like my children will better off than a large percentage of the U.S. population.

Nicole from Pinch My Salt

a. borealis said...

You and me both! Thanks for visiting.

I really enjoy your blog. I was obsessed with the thought of chocolate beet muffins for days after reading about them.

purple_kangaroo said...

HFCS is really the enemy for us, and it's in everything. We've had to avoid anything bleached, enriched, refined or processed, for the most part, because of Baby E's allergies. I must say, we're certainly eating much healthier.