Saturday, July 2, 2011

Healthy Eating

We eat a healthy diet, not uber-healthy completely devoid of all unhealthy foods, but still pretty damn healthy. In my opinion, life is simply too short to refuse yourself the pleasure of a food you love, even if it isn't a 'healthy' food. Food doesn't just feed your body, it also feeds your soul. Cooking isn't just about preparing nutritious food, it's an art. So, I will not cut out any food that I enjoy. I may limit the amount I will eat, if it disagrees with me or is fairly unhealthy, but I will NOT cut it out.

We eat a lot of fruits & vegetables. I love veggies - fresh or frozen, never canned. All of us eat salad. I love that my kids eat salad. Our veggie at dinner could be cooked, a salad, or a veggie tray. We often have two veggies or a veggie & a fruit with our dinner.

We are all big on fruit, too. We mainly eat fruit fresh or frozen, but will eat canned (of course, looking for fruit canned in juice, not syrup). Fruit is common for breakfast & snacks around here. Sometimes, we'll have fruit salad with dinner. Of course, fruit always makes a great dessert, too.

I do use white flour, but always with wheat flour. I've found that using 2 or more flours in combination gives a better flavor than using just one. So, I keep several flours on hand at all times (wheat, white, rice, soy, rye). I'm not fond of brown rice - the texture or the flavor. Instead, we use either sushi rice, jasmine rice, or arborio rice (risotto). We eat some store bought bread (whole wheat or artisan) and pasta, but only because I don't have time to make all of our pasta & bread from scratch. I make pancake & waffle mix from scratch, instead of buying it (again, with a combination of flours).

Roughly once a week, dinner will be take out (Taco Bell, Subway, pizza, or a local place that has great & pretty healthy food), frozen pizza, or fried chicken from the grocery store.

We eat meat. I aim for lean cuts of meat. We enjoy seafood, and have recently found several kinds of fish that we like (major progress for a family that has never liked fish).

That last part (the fact that we eat meat) seems to be a big problem with some people. I know a few people who are vegetarian or vegan. Now, I don't have a problem with vegetarians or vegans. If that is how you choose to eat, that's great, for you. However, some people who have chosen to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet are very pushy about it. They post nothing but links to articles about the benefits of a vegetarien or vegan diet, on Facebook. Their blog posts become about little else. They seem to lose interest in any other topic of conversation. You are suddenly bombarded with nothing but talk, posts, articles, etc. about how their lives are so much better, how they are healthier eaters than you, and plenty of comments on why you should follow in their footsteps, not to mention the loads of advice (that you didn't ask for) on how to 'improve' your life by going vegetarian/vegan.

I do not want to be a vegetarian. Yes, I love fruits & veggies. However, I also love meat, too much to give it up. I also love dairy products. I've tried 'veggie' burgers, and they simply are not the same. They aren't awful, but they aren't going to replace the burgers I make. I've tried soy cheese, too. It is nowhere near as good as real cheese. There is no soy product that can replace Brie. Lasagna made with soy cheese & no meat will not compare to the homemade lasagna, with meat sauce (homemade, of course), ricotta, mozzerella, and farmer's cheese, that I make. Seriously, there are many people who would be very upset if I changed the way I make my lasagna (it is a much loved dish).

I don't believe that I am feeding my kids an inferior diet because we eat meat & other animals products or eat a small amount 'junk' (cookies, candy, ice cream, etc). So, I get a bit annoyed with the very pushy, obnoxious vegetarians/vegans who think it is their job to convert everyone. I see people at the store, their carts full of tv dinners, potato chips, and other nutrient lacking foods. However, I don't accost them in the middle of the store, telling them that they are poisoning their bodies or informing them how/what they should eat instead. Yet, people can look at my cart full of fresh & frozen fruits & veggies, boneless skinless chicken breasts, seafood, lean beef, almond or coconut milk, natural peanut butter, Special K &/or Life cereal (or english muffins, bagels, or yogurt), and some frozen 100% juice concentrate, and feel they need to tell me that I'm not feeding my kids healthy food! WTF!

Now, I'm not saying that we're the healthiest eaters in the world. However, I don't feel guilty about what I feed my family. One of these days, I will finally lose it and go off on some jerk at the store for criticizing my food choices.