Monday, May 9, 2011

Changing the World Starting with Dinner

I am a new mom with a beautiful 2 year-old son, named Logan.  I have been thinking a lot lately about what are the “right” foods for a healthy growing toddler and how I get my precious boy to eat them.  I want my child to grow up with a healthy love of real food but I will admit as a full-time working single mom it can be a challenge to get healthy food choices to the table every night.

60 years ago moms stayed home and cooked from scratch.  Dinner time was sacred family time.  But today moms work full time jobs and dinner is shoved in between a flurry of after-school and social activities.  As a nation we cook less therefore the skill of cooking is growing weaker with each generation.  Our only choice in our harried lives seems to be relying on convenience foods which generally are over processed and under nutritious.  What are the consequences of placing such low value on the food we put in our bodies?  A national obesity crisis and sky rocketing health care cost.  I shudder to think what we will look like as a nation 20 years from now.     

I want to change things.  I want to raise my child with a love of food, healthy balanced eating habits and the ability to live and eat in the modern world.   I also want to see our nation develop a healthy relationship with food again.

But the national food problem is so large and so pervasive (and we are just too busy to cook up a solution) it is hard to get motivated to tackle the problem head on.  It is easier to rock back on our heels, complain and throw the blame.  Because clearly it is the fast food industry’s fault or the food manufactures who are to blame for our societies growing waistlines and lack of will power.  It couldn’t possibly be our faults for over-scheduling our lives and demanding ever cheaper convenience food items could it?  

So what do we do now to solve the toxic relationship we have developed with food?  Lobby congress to change food regulation?  Run for congress and write new laws?  Change the school curriculum to include food education?  Pressure school districts to take junk food vending machines out of schools?  Boycott fast food establishments?  Go organic? Go vegan?  When so many things are wrong it is hard to know where to start.

For now I am going to start by with my own family.  I pledge to keep family dinner sacred and to do my best to cook real foods.  I am still a working single mom who has not magically found extra hours in the day to make all my food from scratch.  It is going to be a balancing act.  I don’t have the ability to farm my own vegetables or buy all organic meat at this time, but I can certainly start cooking more food that is unprocessed or at least minimally process.  I will do the best I can starting with small changes and work my way up to bigger ones, one meal at a time.

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