the jig is up! Happy Meals not so happy for any of us
aka, Why PROCESSED FOOD ISN'T FOOD...! I started out with the intention of writing about "food fractions" today...and it appears that McDonald's--yes, the Golden Arches--has given a perfect intro.
I've been talking about this for years...a while back, my Honey told me of a blog he came across where a woman carried around a regular McDonald's hamburger in her purse for 12 YEARS and it never decomposed. No mold. No deterioration at all. Can you believe it?! But that didn't get as much press as this one...
If you have ever wondered why you should cook and serve REAL food to your families, especially your CHILDREN, here's one good reason. It's finally out... Happy Meals don't decompose! Do we want to feed this to our children? Do we think this could be at all nutritious and promote thriving and good health? Do we even have to wonder why our children are plagued with allergies, eczema, or over-tired/always wired? How about the inability to focus? ADD? AD/HD? We cannot expect our children to function optimally if they are not given the resources to do so. And INSTEAD of FEEDING THEM REAL FOOD and giving their bodies/minds/spirits a chance to COME TO BALANCE, our medical culture is promoting drugs instead. Let's not even BEGIN to talk about CHILDHOOD DIABETES and OBESITY. Do ya wonder? Can ya wonder? McDonald's is not serving FOOD. The problem is, hardly anyone else out there is, either.
Okay, maybe I am being too hard. McDonald's does serve lettuce and tomatoes, albeit conventionally grown and therefore most probably laden with chemical pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers. (Chemical soup for the diet! One more thing contributing to the toxic load the body has to deal with!) And McDonald's ISN'T THE ONLY ONE serving what I call "food fractions". Even those gourmet restaurants use buckets of food fractions with long lists of ingredients! Food fractions are components of food that are isolated in a lab or processing plant, and then mixed together and served up as "food". (Can you see the cauldron or mad scientist...hear the pipe organ behind the scene? No, really, I am sure the current Food Industrial Complex meant well, in the interest of speed, production, and money...it's just that OUR HEALTH has suffered!) An easy food fraction to identify is called an "isolate" (e.g., soy protein isolate). You can recognize food fractions because they are usually more than 3 syllables and are very hard to pronounce. Another red flag is when there are more than 5 ingredients on the label. Having a label at all should set off warning bells to take a look at the ingredient list!
So.........is this food? The answer is NO. Michael Pollan has talked about it in In Defense of Food and Omnivore's Dilemma and continues to talk about it. Nina Planck has talked about it in REAL Food. The Weston A. Price Foundation has been talking about it non-stop since it was inspired and birthed by Sally Fallon Morell in the late 1990's...and they will continue the conversation at this year's Wise Traditions conference in King of Prussia, PA November 12-15. Joel Salatin talks about it in The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer...SLOW FOOD began in Italy years ago to counter the Fast Food Movement in the US...How about Fast Food Nation? FRESH: The Movie...There are many more out there pointing the way back to REAL Food. Nourishing, traditional food.
We cannot feed our children (or ourselves) food fractions and expect them to be well. This is ersatz food, FAKE FOOD, stuff that looks like food, smells like food (how about those chemical flavor factories in my home state of NJ? can't say I'm proud of that!) and even tastes like food...but IS NOT REAL FOOD. ( I challenge you to stop eating the stuff for a month and see if you can go back to eating it again...your taste buds will be able to taste the difference after only 30 days hiatus!)
What does REAL food look like? To state the obvious, REAL FOOD LOOKS LIKE FOOD! REAL food is minimally processed. It is as close to the source as possible. For example, oats and oatmeal, vs "Honey Bunches of Oats" or "Whole Grain Cheerios". Read "high in sugar" and "processed". I cannot even RECOGNIZE an OAT in either of those cereals! Can you? Really? REAL food starts with the highest quality ingredients that are prepared in a way that maximizes nutrition for the body. The ingredients are fresh, local, sustainably raised, organic or biodynamic. Meats are from animals raised on pasture, or “grass-fed”. The fats are traditional fats: lard, tallow, pastured butter, animal fats, coconut oil and olive oil. The dairy is from cows that are raised on pasture, which has not been subjected to heat (i.e., pasteurized) or homogenization. It is certified raw dairy. Or if you are unfortunate enough to live in a state where fresh milk is illegal (can you believe it?? In the land of the free?) it is cultured, pasteurized dairy. There are no additives, flavorings, colorings, or preservatives. The food has not been subjected to high heat or pressure. (Read most things that are canned.) Therefore, it's molecular structure is still intact and its enzymes are still alive.
Basically, stay out of what I call "THE DEAD ZONE" in the grocery store. Heck, stay out of the grocery store! (Okay, now I've gone off the deep end, right?!) Get your food from coops, CSAs, farmers markets, wholesale clubs...grow some yourself. If you are going to shop in the grocery store, and many of us must...read your labels, and stay on the perimeter as much as possible.
Start feeding your children, your family and yourselves REAL Food. Nourishing, traditional food. Try it for 3 months. Heck, try it for 1 month, I dare ya! You will start feeling better, symptoms and allergies will subside...the ability to focus will follow. If you don't know how to cook nourishing, traditional food, REAL food, come to a class...or watch for my cookbook, due out by the WAPF conference--mid November.
If you won't cook for yourself, cook for your children. I teach a series of Cooking for Well-Being Classes called REAL Foods for Thriving Children. I am starting a new series in Oakton, VA on Tuesday mornings 10/19. I also teach a series called small changes: BIG impact--REAL food to Balance Children on the Autistic Spectrum and with AD/HD. I am teaching this series in Great Falls, VA on Saturday mornings. Check the Schedule of Classes for details. All of these classes are open to everyone. You do not have to have a child to benefit. THE TECHNIQUES ARE UNIVERSAL. And if time is tight and you would like to learn it all in one day, come to the Wise Traditions conference in November and sign up for an all-day class with me on Monday, November 15. All the techniques and all the timing to fit this food into your busy life! Just come!
As always, I look forward to teaching you how to cook nourishing, traditional food! REAL food! :)