Posted: Dec 03, 2013 9:00 AM
 
A lot of what we eat comes in packages from the grocery store. Sometimes it's even delivered directly to your door so you didn't even pick it out yourself. While this is all very convenient for our busy lives, what does it mean for the big picture? This health-conscious writer takes a look at this very question and weighs in on the increasing disconnect we have with our food and how it's not a good thing.

Breakfast comes out of a box. Lunch is heated in a microwave. Dinner takes less than 30 minutes to cook. Food is bought in stores that also sell clothes and sometimes offer oil changes. Groceries can even be delivered directly to your door if you're willing to pay for delivery.

This is the world we live in. And it's sad. Very sad.

Yes, modern technology has made life easier for us humans. We no longer have to hunt and gather our daily meals. Nor do we have to eat what can only be grown in our area. We have become highly specialized in our tasks that we do for a living, so much so that we often leave the cooking, cleaning and clothes making to the professionals.

What's wrong with all of this?

These advances, while good for convenience, are not always good for our bodies or our society. The packaged foods we buy at the store are made from corporations who care more about making money than our health. We aren't thinking about the living conditions of the cows, pigs and chickens that are on our plate because we barely touched the meat before serving. We have no idea that the pesticides being sprayed on the produce can harm us or that they are killing the bees that we need to grow more food.

We aren't thinking about the living conditions of the cows, pigs and chickens that are on our plate because we barely touched the meat before serving. We have no idea that the pesticides being sprayed on the produce can harm us or that they are killing the bees that we need to grow more food.

But that's not all. When you don't grow your own food, you don't have the same respect for it. If it's delivered to your door, you didn't get to put your hands on the avocados to find the perfect one. You lost the chance to smell the ripeness of the cantaloupe or the squishiness of the tomatoes. You didn't even get to read the package to find out what ingredients are in that loaf of bread.

The connections we need with our food

Food isn't just something we eat. It's a part of us. It's the fuel that keeps us going. It's what helps us stay healthy — or in reverse, what makes us unhealthy. So, we need to be connected to it. We should know where it comes from, how it was grown or raised and most importantly, how to cook it.

gardening fresh herbs and vegetables

As Michael Pollan states in his book Cooked, when we take back the responsibility of feeding ourselves home-cooked meals, it “increases [our] self-reliance and freedom while reducing our dependence on distant corporations.” Don't we want our dinner plates to be free of the big corporations that seem to run the rest of the world? Plus, it's a wonderful feeling to cook a delicious and healthy meal for your loved ones.

Picking out or growing our own food and cooking our own meals will also reconnect us with our environment. We will start to think about where and how the animals were raised. We will begin to think about the pesticides sprayed on the crops and the artificial ingredients added to the products. Once these thoughts are in our minds we can start to do something about them. Our kitchens will become a place where we can make a difference in the world, even if it is a small difference.

How can we get reconnected?

Start small and make simple changes in your everyday life. Take it one step at a time and before you know it, you'll be reconnected with your food and living a happier and healthier life. Here are a few suggestions to get you started on the right path:

  • Grow one plant, maybe a tomato or a little herb garden.
  • Shop local instead of at the big box stores.
  • Whip up a batch of pancakes from scratch for breakfast.
  • Get out the flour and bake a pie, cake, cookies or cupcakes that don't come from a box.
  • Spend a few hours on Sunday preparing food for the week. Try a batch of homemade tomato sauce or a Crock-Pot of soup.
  • Make your own peanut butter, nut milks and even ice cream.
Most importantly, learn to enjoy your time in the kitchen and get the kids involved whenever possible. Foster in them a love of food and cooking as early as possible.

More on healthy eating

How to avoid fast food — for good
In Defense of Food: The one book that will change the way you eat
How healthy is this food?

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