I saw recently that they are thinking about using instant replay in baseball. It is surprising to me that with the technology available today this is even up for debate. More surprising to me is the argument being used against it, namely it would be a shame to break with tradition. So let me get this straight: in this day of instant everything people are lamenting the possible change in our national pastime because it would be untraditional? This makes me scratch my head because it seems we have been willing to break with custom about almost every aspect of our lives, including our food.
I had many conversations this week about food with a variety of people. One question that was raised was why does it seem there are so many more food allergies today? My totally unscientific answer is that the food we eat today is not the same food we were eating as little as 25 years ago. People started demanding quicker, more convenient foods along with lower costs and the food companies responded with more processed foods. We demanded perfect fruits and vegetables with longer shelf lives and food producers found ways to genetically modify seeds to give us what we wanted. There has been a lot of backlash against this in more recent years with farmer’s markets, CSA’s and a demand for organic foods becoming more popular. The sad thing is that so often it is more expensive to eat “clean” foods instead of the mass produced foods. In other words, a return to traditional eating is difficult for many of us to afford. Why does a head of broccoli cost more than bag of Doritos? Someone once made the observation to me that his health was worth the extra few dollars it cost to buy fresh, healthy food. I can’t argue with that! I try to find ways to make it affordable such as shopping at farmer’s markets, buying store brands when appropriate and doing without items such as soda.
I think we all find it way too easy to fall into the trap of finding the fastest way to put a meal on the table instead of being mindful of what we are putting into our bodies. Watch television for any length of time and the commercials for food all start sounding the same. Fortified with vitamins! Full of whole grains! Low fat! Low sodium! My personal favorite: tastes homemade! Food companies are putting out more and more processed foods and trying to convince us we are being healthy by choosing their products. (Remember, large food companies are interested in their bottom line, not our health). When did grabbing a prepackaged granola bar replace grabbing an apple? We see the consequences of this everyday with obesity rates skyrocketing. I don’t think people even realize what they are eating has a direct affect on their everyday health. How often do you find yourself feeling sluggish or dealing with slight digestive issues and write it off as a 24 hour bug? We do not want to correlate our well-being with our food choices. I will be the first to admit that if a plate of french fries appears before me I will find it difficult to say no. I also know that eating a lot of fried foods will not have pleasant results the next day. It won’t be because I caught a stomach bug!
A new buzz word I hear a lot is “real” food. To me this is just another way of saying we need to get back to a more traditional way of eating. We seem to be able to find the time to watch our favorite shows or play our favorite video game or check out Facebook or read the latest on another celebrity gone wild and we don’t find the time to be good to ourselves. Many will say taking “me” time to unwind is important, but isn’t treating our bodies well just as important? Try to think of taking the time to prepare a meal as the most important “me” time you will have all day! It doesn’t have to be fancy, just real, traditional food. You can even enjoy it while watching a baseball game in your living room!
After all that I was a looking for a traditional recipe that uses “real” food and is quick and easy. I hope you like what I came up with! (I tossed in some feta cheese as well.)
Whole Foods Lemony Cabbage-Avocado Slaw
6 cups finely shredded purple and green cabbage (you could do just one color)
I small red, orange or yellow pepper, chopped
1 ripe avocado, diced
2 Tbsp finely chopped red onion (I grate it so I don’t bite into a raw onion)
3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup hulled hemp seeds (or chia or flax or sunflower, etc.)
3 Tbsp chopped cilantro (or parsley)
Salt and pepper to taste
Toss all ingredients together until avocado is creamy throughout.