I've always had an interest in food, but it's taken me a long time to figure out what real food really is. Jerry (that wonderfully supportive guy) and I laugh when we think back to a mere 4 years ago when we first got married and thought that boxed chocolate pudding made with skim milk was a healthy dessert. While I made all of our meals at home (at that point it was out of frugality, as we were saving to buy a house), I always had a pantry full of Tuna Helper, canola oil, and fat-free everything. I had been 'dieting' on and off since high school, was always reading food articles, and thought that I got it.
Oh how little I knew. I remember wanting to get pregnant and reading Skinny Bitch: Bun in the Oven, and they introduced me to the dangers of factory farmed meat and dairy. Then my mom stumbled across this website called 100 Days of Real Food, and I started reading more and more about how the food that we were eating wasn't actually food. I became disgusted while watching Food Inc, and started reading about the dangers of genetically modified foods (GMOs). I read Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food (which I think is an absolute must read and would recommend to anyone). I continued to do my own research. About organic food and the harm of pesticides. About how the food that's sitting in boxes on the shelves just isn't food anymore because of how it's been processed. About all the chemicals that are put in processed foods and the pre-made food in chain restaurants and fast food joints that have never been tested to see how they impact us.
Through my reading I've learned that there is another way. A better, more healthful way. Real health. Not fake fat-free health. Eat real food. That's what it all comes down to. Real food with real ingredients that I can pronounce and find at the store. Real food that has all of its wonderful vitamins and nutrients still preserved within it. Real food that needs to be stored long-term in the freezer, because if it doesn't, it will mold. Have you ever thought about that? Food is supposed to go bad. If the little creatures like mold don't even want to eat your Lucky Charms because there's no nutritional value in it, then why would you? And what's the easiest and least expensive way to eat real food? Make it homemade. Sure, it takes time (to be honest, I think the extra time comes mostly from dishes and not from actual cooking. And my darling husband who lives by the slogan 'You cook, I clean' would agree). But isn't your health worth it? Isn't the health of your children worth it? I believe so, and that's why I make the less convenient (and more frugal) choice to spend more time in the kitchen.
Does this mean that we're perfect? Not even close. Jerry and I love going out to eat. I'm currently on the hunt for my go-to local pizzeria (and organic cheese is not a prerequisite). My perfect summer night would include either a campfire with s'mores or a trip to the local ice cream shop for a large hand-dipped scoop of ice cream. And did I mention that I can eat? I have no problem splitting an entire large pizza with my husband, and I tend to eat less when I'm in the company of friends because I'm embarrassed by how much I really want to eat. But my goal is to eat healthy and nutrient-dense food the majority of the time so that I don't feel bad about myself when I do slip into old habits every once in awhile.