12 Sep 2012
I read Barbara Kingsolver’s book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” a few years ago and one of the passages I recall most vividly is when a young man accustomed to city life saw her pull a carrot out of the family garden. He was shocked that carrots grew in the ground.
This disconnect between real, simple food and the foods many people rely on to nourish their bodies is concerning to me. I see it in my own life when at speaking engagements. If the group is small, I will often ask people to share three things they always buy at the grocery store. The most common responses are all highly processed. People indicate they purchase diet frozen dinners, sweetened cereals, chips, frozen breaded vegetables, and other such “non-food” items.
It occurred to me recently that in many cases, a person must learn to reacquaint or even introduce themselves to real foods, different tastes, and healthy foods. In other words, in many cases, the American palate has shifted away from appreciating the simple foods in life to only enjoying foods that bear little or no resemblance to a natural food.
I take advantage of every opportunity I have to introduce people to real foods and love seeing their reactions. One evening I was invited to attend a meeting that included a potluck dinner. I made a couscous recipe that included freshly steamed vegetables, herbs straight from my garden, and no salt. Although some of the attendees were a bit dubious about trying my dish, the ones that did could not believe how good it was. They also could not believe how simple and fast the dish was to prepare. I shared the nutritional benefits of the dish with them and told them in my life, “Simple, natural foods often equal healthy foods.”
We had some of my children’s friends over recently and I made hummus and served it with carrot sticks cut into fun shapes, whole grain crackers, and cucumber sticks. One of the children asked me what the cucumbers were and none of them had ever heard of hummus. Although tentative at first, every single child ate all that I gave them and eagerly told their mom about the “new food” they had tried. I suppressed a smile as many of the moms said they had never really tried to serve their kids foods like hummus because they assumed their kids would hate it.
On the surface it does seem easier to just pop a frozen dinner in the oven or warm up some breaded vegetables, but in reality, we are doing ourselves and our family a disservice by eliminating simple, healthy foods from our diet in favor of highly processed foods.
After all, the foods we put in our bodies are the fuel our bodies require to run. The nutrients in whole foods are far superior to the preservatives and additives in many processed foods. I’d encourage you to make sure the people in your life are acquainted to real foods. Make a new recipe, introduce children to unfamiliar vegetables, and purchase whole grains that are great for your body.
Do you see an unfamiliarity with real, simple foods among your family and friends? Have you ever introduced someone to a new food?
DianeCheck out my latest posts here