Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Back to Basics

I just ate a sandwich. Sandwiches, when made at home, are usually really good for you and full of nutrients. Yet, lately - because I've been watching so many shows about being health conscious and reading the labels on food - I have become more aware. Unfortunately, I didn't look at the label until after I had consumed the manufactured turkey. Needless to say, I'm shocked. The turkey meat that I just ate included the following ingredients:
  1. White turkey (phew)
  2. Water
  3. Modified corn starch (SO BAD)
  4. Less than 2% of salt
  5. Sugar
  6. Carrageenan (WTF)
  7. Sodium lactate
  8. Sodium phosphates
  9. Sodium erythorbate
  10. Flavorings (as if the turkey alone wasn't tasty enough)
  11. Sodium nitrate. The fact that it listed "less than 2% salt" and then went on with about 4 other ingredients that had "sodium" in their title was amusing. When you read the sodium grams on the nutritional label it says, "740mg" in just 6 slices (thin slices) of this turkey product. It leads me to believe that if they would have just let the turkey stand alone, they wouldn't have needed to add so much salt to flavor it up. I'm a little freaked out by this. I remember walking down the aisle of the grocery store and thinking I want to be more healthy at lunchtime, a nice sandwich gives you a well rounded meal. Veggies, dairy, grains, & meat. Well, what I thought was meat - at least it's partly meat. Shouldn't we have higher standards for our food?
This really wakes me up to what we put in our bodies. I was already on the verge of change, these past few months. Buying organic wherever possible and watching what I eat calorie wise. Now I'm completely 100% awake. As soon as I read the label on the lunch meat, I opened our pantry to find out that even the Whole Grain Toasted Oats Cereal from Trader Joe's has corn syrup and enriched flour on its ingredients list. What a disappointment - the way I was starting my day wasn't as healthy as I thought. It's really time to start paying attention to every detail. I'm lucky to have had this enlightenment now, this year I turn 30. I have a chance to live out the rest of my life getting only the nutrients I need. Imagine those who won't open their eyes or have lived every day eating the same thing for the last 30, 40, 50, 60 years. No wonder the obesity level has become so high in this country.

When watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution the other night I was appalled by what I saw still being fed in school cafeterias, it was mind boggling. Now knowing all that we know,we are still feeding chicken nuggets, pizza, mashed potatoes made from instant powder and milk with chocolate or strawberry flavorings. Shocking. When I saw the potatoes they plopped out on the cafeteria tray I thought of what my Weight Watchers group leader once said. She was so inspiring and VERY health and organic conscious. She used to say, "Just watch what your food does to your plate or pan and realize that it does the same thing to your body." What an "A-Ha!" Moment!!!! Those kids were eating paste and processed chicken. Disgusting. Amazing what they try to pull just to meet the USDA guidelines and cook food for 400+ FAST! Convenience over quality = the way of the world these scary days...

I'm ready to embark on a "From Scratch" life... I'll be starting another blog to document recipes and ways to enjoy real ingredients and what food used to taste like before the freezer was introduced. It'll be a hard transition and I'm sure I'll have some setbacks, but I'm excited to live organic and green. Also, on this quest to be healthier and happier, my Mom and I will be planting an extensive vegetable garden in her back yard. She has so much space which is just waiting to be growing abundantly with delicious vegetables. We'll take pictures and show you our progress!

In honor of Earth Day lets all just stop and think of this beautiful planet. If you can, go see Avatar in 3D, because the underlying message of the movie is "respect nature." Such a beautiful and breathtaking movie, I've seen it twice now and honestly could watch it over and over. I love the line, "I see you,"- so deep. To see someone is huge. Think about it - when you look at someone you make assumptions about who they are. When you know someone, I mean truly know who they are then you see into their soul. At least that's how I interpret it. I believe it means more to "see" someone than to love them. To know who they are, to have their trust to show you into their entire being. So amazing. The number of people I love would be far more than the number of people I can honestly say "I see."

Human connection is so important in this world as well as having a connection with nature. To be giving, kind, and thoughtful not only gives joy to others, but you reap the benefits too. I think in this day and age with technology at the forefront of everyone's minds, we lose out on personal contact. You know where you meet up for dinner and leave cellphones in your pocket and just talk. It's a dying art. People still go out, but so often I see them each chatting on their phones or texting. Paying attention to what is right in front of us is so important. I remember when I was in Customer Service, you would put the phone on hold if someone was standing at your counter. It should be that way in life. If someone is there in front of you, Listen, Talk, Be There. LTB! There's no way to "see" each other when we're behind a cellphone or computer screen. Technology is wonderful for sharing and keeping in touch, but when that becomes the ONLY outlet for staying connected, you've gone astray.

Remember handwritten letters? Getting mail and stopping your day to open it and read what was going on in someone else's life? Yes, you can get emails, but it seems that when we sit at the computer there are distractions. Instant messages pop up, other emails come in, the side bar shows you something you have to buy and all of a sudden your attention is not on the email. I still send letters to my childhood friend and it is so special. To see handwriting instead of printed words is so refreshing.

Today I realize that as simple as I am, I can be even simpler. I can eat less processed ingredients, plant my own vegetables, spend more time outside in nature, connect more (with those willing to connect of course - two way street), and write more snail mail. Yes, technology is grand. So many beautiful things have come from it, but it's not the only avenue of happiness. Back to basics, here I go? You wanna come?

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