Today after church, I took the kids to a restaurant called Flatbread. As its name suggests, it serves flatbread pizzas. The menu is by no means extensive, but what I love about it is that it serves all-natural food: organic produce, freshly milled flour for its pizza crusts, nitrate-free pepperoni tops its pizzas, and free-range chicken stars in some of its dishes. The best thing? The kids love it!
While the kids have enjoyed take-out from Flatbread, they had never been inside before today. They were very impressed with the interior...the eclectic seating arrangements composed of tables, booths, picnic tables, and couches; the wood-burning oven; the tin cans turned lighting fixtures; and even the outhouse-like restrooms (outhouse by decor only!), which each of them checked out in turn. As Alex looked thoughtfully around, she noted, "This place is kind of hippy." Her comment was not critical in any way, just her observation.
I chuckled inside because that hippy label is a bit reflective of me at this moment. You see, I have spent a lot of time over the last few weeks educating myself about food, especially the food here in America. I watched Food Inc. and Fresh, two documentaries about how food is handled in the US. As you can imagine, the focus is on the fact that food is so very processed here. In addition, I have been reading Michael Pollan who wrote both The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food.
I have not finished the latter title, but I thoroughly enjoyed The Omnivore's Dilemma. The only way I can describe this book is by calling it grippingly informative. And more than that, it gave me a greater appreciation for nature. Mr. Pollan clearly does not share my views on creation, but even so, all of the information in this book put me in absolute awe of God..His creation, its intricacies, and how everything works together so very perfectly! Additionally, this book lowered my ignorance about food so I can make much better decisions about feeding my family.
I have heard many people say they decided to stop eating meat after reading The Omnivore's Dilemma. Totally not the point of the book! The point is that we need to make wiser choices in the meat we do choose to eat. Knowledge is power as they say. I think most of America is completely ignorant about the food they eat. Not ignorance by anyone's fault, really. The true information out there is hard to find. This book spells it out definitely, thoroughly, and in an interesting way.
Although I'm still processing all of this information as well as picking up additional information, one of the biggest things I have taken away so far is the importance of ensuring that the beef I buy for my family is from grass-fed cows. God created cows to eat grass, not the grain diet they are fed by big beef producers. If they are permitted to eat grass as God designed them to do, they will not get sick and thus they will not need the antibiotics the big meat producers must pump into them. And if they are permitted to eat grass as God designed them to do, their bodies will produce the nutrients that sustain them when they are alive and that are passed on to us when we enjoy a burger or a steak.
Now I won't go on and on about a cow. I have already been chastised by my oldest who rolled her eyes and asked me why I am suddenly so obsessed with the cow and its diet. I did convince her to go with me to a local store today which carries grass-fed beef. I'm thankful I live in a state where there are so many local farms and other outlets where I can pick up fresh and more healthful food.
Getting the food is only half the battle of course. If you know me, you know I am not on great terms with my kitchen. However, over the last few days the kitchen and I have become much more intimate. This takes a lot of time and is not easy! When the kids want a snack, instead of turning to that big red box of Cheez-Its, I have to make something for them (homemade Cheez-Its are actually very delicious!).
It's definitely an adjustment and one I'm trying to make slowly...for my own sanity and for the sake of the children. Although I do not regret never forcing them to eat something, I do regret not providing better choices for them. It's hard for them to see some of those processed choices disappear to be replaced by one of Mom's kitchen experiments. Naturally, their suspicions have decidedly risen as they wonder what healthy thing I have hidden in those crackers or where exactly that package of processed Oreos has disappeared to.
I hope eventually I am able to educate them about health. In the meantime, one big reason I want to head my family toward more healthful eating is to address my fibromyalgia. I have been experiencing a lot of aggravating pain, and I hope that a healthier diet and lifestyle will help alleviate some of that. I do not want to turn to any of the marketed drugs at the risk of any of those side effects (possible side effects include thoughts of suicide? No thank you!). More importantly, I want to protect my family from the myriad of ugly diseases out there, most of which can at least in part be traced back to a poor diet.
I want to get back to eating a little more like God intended us to eat (and thankfully, my personal chef loves to cook from scratch!), and if that makes me a granola girl or a hippy, I'm OK with that!