Paul and I went to a talk featuring chef Michael Smith last night in Ottawa. It was a really good talk, had some samples of receipes in the cookbook and had a book signing after. I’ve met Michael before and know that he is a really friendly guy, but is very up front about certain problems in the food world: namely local food production and processed foods. Although I try to eat local most of the time in terms of fruits and veggies, I can’t say I totally agree with him on that point. Processed foods however: that is a different story.
I do not eat frozen processed foods. I do not go into that section of the store, that kind of food does not come into my house and I do not feel like I missing out nor spending copious amounts of time in the kitchen. I do have a big freezer downstairs, but the only thing that you will find in that freezer is frozen meats. The only things that I buy frozen are: ice cream, frozen veggies and occasionally frozen OJ (but that is more for Paul than me). I do not eat processed foods for a variety of reasons:
– The cost. Frozen foods are really expensive!
– The crap they put in the food. Ingrediants you cannot pronounce isn’t food! Sodium levels are also too high, even if it is called “Healthy Choice”
– My food is better
– It rarely takes more time to prepare fresh food items than it is to cook frozen items. I can make a stirfry in less than 20 minutes. It takes most frozen meats at least 20 minutes to be ready.
I can make my own: pizza, burgers, chicken fingers, quiches, quesadillas, roasts, chicken breasts in a variety of ways. Heck, I even made my own Pho! I am a good cook and I do enjoy it. I understand that people may not enjoy cooking, but I will question that with ‘how can you not enjoy something that keeps you alive?’
When I was a cashier at the stupidstore, I watched people fill their carts with frozen foods. I hate the diet meals most of all. I wonder if people are going to be that lazy with preparing their food that if they are that lazy with exercising as well. Also, look at the labels people! Those healthy meals are not as healthy as you think.
Now I know that someone will say “I have no time to cook” or “wait til you have kids”. Rushing around and having too much to do has become a problem in the 21st society. Having both parents out working is a strain. But remember that not all healthy meals take hours to make. On a Sunday, make your own spaghetti sauce….let it cool and then scoop portions into ziploc bags for later. Defrost when you need it, boil some whole wheat pasta and boom, you have an instant meal. Making a big pot of chili or stew goes the same way. In the summer, BBQing is the way to go. Have a meat and two sides (BBQ chicken, beans and potatoes is one of my faves). There is nothing wrong with burgers…..making them yourself makes them taste so much better!
If your child’s after-school schedule is causing strain on your schedule…then perhaps less activities after school? Extra-curriculars are important, but they shouldn’t run your lives and they shouldn’t be the reason for going to McDumps every night. Even though my parents took my brothers baseball very seriously and were coaches, we never went to McD’s for dinner. If baseball started at 6:15pm, then dinner was at 4:30. We also didn’t do anything but b-ball for my brother and piano for me….anything more would be insane! Healthy food is crucial for our kids. Childhood obesity and diabetes are on the rise. Something is going wonky.
Anyhoo these are my opinions. I feel pretty strongly about the processed food and feeding my kids crap. I’m not saying they will never have McD’s or Kraft dinner….it just won’t be a very regular thing. It is not like I don’t eat fast food…I do, but again not every day and sometimes not every month. Frozen foods though? Not going to happen. I hope that my kids enjoy cooking as much as I do….and I am crossing my fingers that allergies are not an issue!