What is real food? And why bother with it? To me, real food is sustaining physically and emotionally. It nurtures our spirits and lets us know we are cherished and worth the effort; even if it’s only our own effort and our own love.
So let’s start with physically. Physically, our bodies are developed and maintained by the energy and nutrients from food. We need a variety of fruits, veggies, grains, and proteins. We need fats, sugars, and salts. We don’t need chemicals, added sugars, or ‘onion-flavored’ anything. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ever eat these things, just that we don’t need them.
If we don’t need them, they ought to be a treat or a bonus- consumed in moderation- but not a kitchen staple. This obviously means more effort to cook food with fresh ingredients, rather than frozen, pre-packaged, or fast-food meals. And that’s why I’m writing this blog- I’m hoping I can help someone do this for themselves (and their family, if applicable).
Generally we try to eat fresh fruits, veggies, and un-processed meats and seafood. Each week I try to balance heavier, fattier meals with vegetarian, or at least lighter, foods. I vary the flavors and nutrients as much as possible given the particular tastes of my family. The more variety, the better. Organic is better than not, but not always available or affordable. We try to pick organic for the important stuff (there are tons of lists of these foods), but not everything, because we just can’t.
Now for the touchy-feely emotional part. Homemade food means someone took the time to create something. That’s special. And we can have that magic daily. The process of creation is important, and valuable, and the knowledge that we are each worth the time to nurture and care for is transforming as well. Cooking real food is uplifting for the cook- even after a long day at work- and the eater. A good meal is like a long, warm hug at the end of day.
My mother hates cooking; she’s always hated cooking. And wasn’t great at it, either. But she cooked a well-balanced meal just about every night for us to eat together. While her food was often not what we wanted, and often the butt of family jokes (and there were definitely a few years I resented family dinner), I love her even more for having done that for us. I have a healthier relationship with food and a healthier life because of it, so that’s what I’m doing for my daughter (and my husband). There are a lot of options on this site (well, there will be after a few weeks of posts) for quick, healthy, nourishing, and satisfying meals. So please, pick up a pan and a knife, and pass the veggies.