Thursday, July 14, 2011

Death Spiral

A couple of days ago we went to the Air & Space Museum and had lunch at Whole Foods with some friends of ours. Now I'll preface this next sentence with the fact that I once shopped at Whole Foods regularly....when I was single and thought I was independently wealthy from a (new) teacher's salary. Whole Foods has such healthy food choices! I realize this is like saying there's so much warm water in my tea or (as Abby puts it surprised every time, "Hey, there's a hot dog in my corn dog!" But it's undeniable how few healthy choices exist where we usually shop for our groceries. No matter what you choose, unless it's a piece of fruit or a vegetable that is, you can bet it's filled with preservatives and so many nonfood ingredients that you'd need experience in Latin deciphering its origin. I'm certainly not such a health guru that I know everything to avoid but common sense tells me if it sounds like a 6th grade science experiment it's probably not on the food pyramid and therefore should not be put in my body, or my children's bodies. I can't help but assume some of the diseases we, as a country, are rampantly coming down with by the millisecond are in large part due to foreign chemicals most of us are poisoning our organs with at every meal. I'm not talking about the occasional Dorito or Oreo, I'm mostly talking about the bulk of our diets, the entrees if you will, not so much the apps.

Back to Whole Foods. What I saw there gave me hope that healthy shopping is not only possible, it's a movement. I can say with certainty that whenever we eat poorly (kid food and convenient foodstuffs including hydrolyzed whatevers) we hit a death spiral so quickly that I physically become overwhelmed and so begins the spiral of poor choices, one deviant brain cell at a time. Whenever I revert back to pancake mix pancakes for breakfast, PB&J for lunches (some peanut butter has more preservatives and unpronounceable than the jelly.), chicken nuggets (frozen of course, I haven't Panko'ed a chicken breast in months), or even Trader Joe's "organic" Mac'N Cheese, I can see the ill effects in seconds. The children whir around like mini cyclones on an open field while ripping up anything in their way by their plastic toy rootballs. And because I don't even truly eat a thing, more like hurl kids' leftovers into my mouth while clearing plates to be washed, I am not much better.

Then the attitudes begin. My children are good kids, they really are but you'd never know that when they're high on monosodium glutamate. They pick on each other relentlessly until the tears fall or their just as high on calcium caseinate mother uses her outside voice to stop the inside madness. We are all raw, impatient, frustrated, and looking for a way out. Exactly what our chemistry must look like underneath our skin. It's a true death spiral the likes of the fall of the Roman empire: strong able bodied people succumbing defeat by their even stronger and more able-bodied enemies.

*Here is a great article my mom's cousin, Jeri posted on FB. Excitotoxins
It illustrates what these "excitotoxins" do to our bodies and why we should avoid them as much as possible.

I know some people will say, "Well, I grew up on Twinkies and canned beef stew and I turned out okay." To that I say, are you really okay? Look around and tell me just how many people you know or love have come down with cancer or some other cellular disorder of the body. I can answer that and the number is too exorbitant to just sit idly by. Our bodies are fundamentally working machines that are fueled by the earth, or at least that was the idea a million years ago. Our bodies are made of tiny cells that are directly influenced by what nourishes them. If that cell is "nourished" by a hydrolyzed vegetable protein (found in broths and meat products -HELLO hotdogs - even turkey dogs that Abby eats 4 times a week) instead of an actual vegetable, then it's no wonder our mitochondria begin to deviate from their norm and reproduce in an alien form. You are what you eat. When you eat an alien (aspartame or other sweeteners), you become one on the most cellular level.

Obviously I have a lot to learn about making better food choices and thus life choices for me and my family. I'm not saying that road ahead will be easy or disease free. What I do know is the death spiral we are in now is not an option I can live with, figuratively or literally.

So tonight's mission? To figure out how to cook Tandoori Chicken without MSG or any foreign ingredient. This is forcing me back to the recipe books and ultimately out of my comfort zone (you know, actually cooking vs. heating up) but I'm up for the challenge if the end result is a more balanced and healthier life with myself and my family. And it is, about that I have no doubt whatsoever.


pajama mom said...

i struggle with this as well.

i just told mm i'd like to do a trip to whole foods to see what the cost difference is for a week's worth of groceries. i mean is it $20 more or $100 more?

it seems like the blog - crockpot 365 had a tandoori recipe that everyone loved, she also had a gluten free section too I think.

please keep us posted! i would like to walk down this road as well. except for the snickers. and the dr. pepper.

pajama mom said...

i also just read a book from the library called, "cleanse your body clear your mind" - pretty good.

i'm so chatty today! :)

Andy said...

If you need anymore encouragement with this watch Food Inc. It's such an eye opening film and is an amazing look into our food industry. Just another area of our lives that we have lost control of to large corporations that are interested in only one thing. $$$. From growing chickens and raising cattle to growing corn and other crops it's all about growing it faster, fatter, and cheaper. Of course the ways in which that is achieved are not good for anyone. From cattle raised in feed lots in their own shit to chemicals sprayed all over crops to prevent pests and weeds our food has become down right dangerous.

And Erin I agree with the notion 100% that so much of the disease, from food allergies to cancer and beyond, comes back to what we are putting in our bodies. Preservatives, pesticides, herbicides... oh and pass the Yellow # 9 please.

Food is totally my passion lately. It's been growing over the last few years and we've been incorporating more and more organic foods into our diet. Also trying to grow and store as much food as we can ourselves which helps to offset the cost a bit too. Eating organic is no doubt more expensive but I don't think people need to buy everything organic either. Start with a few of the dirty dozen (apples tops the list) and you eliminate a large % of toxins being put into your body. I'm rambling now but am always happy to see people wanting to make good food choices. Good luck and if you ever want to become organic farmers let me know. Maybe we can all just buy a farm in rural Virginia and live off the land ;)

OSMA said...

Awesome comments you two! Had me ruminating in them all day. I am totally fred up about this topic, will check out what you both referenced and will try to walk past the juiced up strawberries I see at the "super"market. Seriously will be posting updates in hopes of getting somewhere with this food movement. thanks for the inspiration!

OSMA said...

*Fred or fired. Maybe Fred will get fired up? Ugh, touch keypad.

eep said...

You know what I figured out on my own (which I'm proud to say because it was something I heard from Food Inc. later after I had put this into play myself, ya know how it feels good to award yourself the genesis star for such moments, lol, kidding) just stick to shopping from around the perimeter of the grocery store (except for the items like vinegar, rice, flour etc). Avoid going into the center aisles. Sure, you'll have to be selective of some perimeter products (ex. cheese, yogurts, milk, etc.) but to ward off most all junk from the get go, just stick to the outskirts of the store as soon as you walk in. Not allowing yourself inwards is a great exercise to get you off to a good start to buying real food.

Have been doing it for about three years now and have found great success not purchasing/using/consuming items with preservatives, extra sugars and generally, all that junk added to so called "food." Our bodies and budgets thank us immensely! It's astoundingly cheaper, too.

When serving sizes are monitored too, more mini meals, more time preparing food is actually something that keeps me from over eating.

It's tough to the take the time to shop for and prepare the healthy meals our bodies need, because so many people live their lives outside of the house, on the go, in the car, multitasking the heck out of life. Support in this arena is low anymore; it seems I can barely find a community of friends or family to spend enough time in the kitchen or dealing with food in order to make those healthy meals and snacks, but it's worth the sacrifice of being as social or getting something else done.

Good luck to you guys!!

OSMA said...

eep - i too have instated the perimeter rule and while the choices are MUCH healthier than boxed junk inside the aisles, most fruits and veggies are still hopped up on chemicals and other garbage. currently, I'm trying to go the local farmer's market route with hopes they are not riddled with bad toxins. I think the only way to know for sure is to grow things yourself. It have a black thumb, however so will just keep googling local markets :)

Feel great about prepping the way u do for food, snacks, etc. That is another way I'm losing out bigtime bc I do not do that to date. No reason I can't start now so I will.

Rock on, healthy Mama!

eep said...

I hear ya man. It's wild to think about what's in those things...I often hit up this small local place for fruits and veggies. I'm growing stuff's growing! Miracle, lol =) Kidding, I better know how, worked at a nursery before...let Monica or I know about gardening with you some time. She did a great garden, too...sad story about why she had to say good bye to it =( But I bet all three of us, with our powers combined, create a neato garden, and turn that black finger into a green one. If you can grow kids, you can grow anything =) And you have some serious cuties over there!