At the start of the new year, I made a lot of promises…and haven’t mentioned them again since. But, no worries. I’m no politician. I’m still working on that change…it’s just that I’m doing it a bit at a time.
Attempting to revamp your lifestyle can be a daunting task, so I decided to take the advice of Teri from Life with Riley & Stella and tackle one challenge at a time. The first thing I’m working on is my diet. Luckily for me, Nick is joining me in this endeavor, which makes it a lot easier than if I were going it alone. We’re not counting calories. We’re not following some fad. But we are striving to make the best choices, both for our bodies and the environment.
Our biggest concerns:
Transfats: Linked to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes…this “man-made” item is one that we try to keep off our plates whenever possible. Luckily, this item is easy to avoid, as more and more companies are removing it from the products. Why? Because it’s like ingesting poison, and they know it. And now that the public is catching on, they have to remove it or sell less product. Instead, they are turning to things like palm oil, and a new suspicious sounding product called “high oleic oil”…which I also avoid because of statements like this: “Is it healthy? As far as we know, yes.” I’ll stick to fats that haven’t been tampered with, like butter and olive oil, thank you very much.
Genetically Modified Organisms…better known as GMOs: These nasties – which aren’t even considered safe in many other countries – are cropping up virtually everywhere in the U.S. food supply, and if you research some of the horrors that are done to these products before they end up on our forks, you might worry a bit about consuming them. (Did you know some of the genes that are being spliced into your food might be coming from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans.) Not familiar with GMOs? Here are ten reasons to avoid them.
Factory Raised Livestock: This to me is a moral issue. I’m no vegetarian. I love meat…especially red meat. Some of my favorite dishes include burgers, sauce with meatballs, stews, roasts, and just about anything with bacon in it. But unfortunately, Nick and I are documentary junkies, and watching programs like FrankenSteer really made us face the atrocities that are committed to animals in this country just so we can have food on our table. Beyond cruel, it’s also bad for the environment (pollution from animal waste is just one issue), and it’s bad for our bodies because the animals we eat are injected with antibiotics just to keep them alive until they are slaughtered, because the corn they give them to fatten them up starts killing them almost immediately.
Maybe if we hadn’t watched one too many documentaries, I wouldn’t care. But I did, and now I do.
The problem with all of this is that Nick and I are also both foodies. We love to cook, we often eat out at various restaurants from the fast and fried to the fancy and flavorful, and we enjoy visiting family and friends to share in thoughtful, home cooked meals of their design. We do not want to be “those people” who others have to worry about what they can or can not serve us. If you take the time to cook us a meal, we’re going to take the time to enjoy it with you. It’s also very hard to figure out what’s in your food when you eat out. And finally, we’re not wealthy…and non-gmo, organic products, and humanely sourced meats are not cheap (or easy to find).
So what are we doing to meld our values and our diets? Unfortunately, I’m already a touch over my word limit..but I plan to continue this another day. Want to learn more for yourself? Besides checking out the links I provided above, a great place to start is by reading just about anything written by Michael Pollan. And while I’m only touching on this particular goal of mine and then moving on to the next item on my “things to change” list, Nick has just started his own website, blog, and forum called OmmNomm.com (One Man’s Mission: Nick O’s Mealtime Mantras). There he will be focusing on how to make sure what’s going in your mouth IS actually food, so if you’re interested in this topic, you might like to check it out.
Well…what are you waiting for? Go. Research. Decide for yourself.