A little piece of advice: when you decide to start eating healthier, locally, etc… – DO NOT look in your cupboards. I have never been one to meticulously read the labels on food containers, but after I had my daughter, we made the choice to feed her only organic foods, limit her sugar to cane sugar/evaporated cane juice and absolutely no artificial food coloring. I suddenly became a freakazoid when it came to food labels. I read each and every ingredient, back and forth, top to bottom. The strange thing is I didn’t apply this same zealous, drill sergeant abandonment to the foods that my husband and I were eating. Our cupboards resembled those of a kosher kitchen. There was the toddler food and the adult food. Upon close examination of our foods, I realized that my husband and I would be a lot healthier if we ate the same foods that we were feeding our daughter. I know what you are thinking: Duh! I have always read advice in parenting magazines that says you will be a better parent if you put your needs first sometimes. I thought that this only applied to how many hours of sleep you get at night or the lack of hours you put in at the gym, not what we eat and drink. I am definitely not putting my needs above my child’s, but everyone in our house is now on level playing ground and eating from the safe trough of organic, natural, locally grown food.
Back to not looking in your cupboards… Once, the conscious decision has been made to eat healthier and more locally – the blinders on your eyes open wide and you begin to see the fine print on the food labels. What?! Those dried apples are from apples in China! What?! The first ingredient in our pancake syrup is high fructose corn syrup! Huh?! Those blue bits in a blueberry bagel are sugar mixed with Blue 1 food coloring! It is almost as if the cupboards are filled with foods disguised as nutritionally adequate, but are really sustenance that offers little more than artificial sweeteners and colorings held together with bleached, refined flour. What’s a blogging girl to do? In an effort to reduce our waste – I have made the realistic decision to slowly integrate natural foods into our diet as their sub-par replacements are used and eaten. Some items have already been replaced – when we needed milk, I purchased organic milk. And, some foods are spending their last few days in our fridge and on our shelves – when we need bread, the next loaf we purchase will certainly be wholesome with a lack of unnatural sweeteners and, hopefully, from a local bakery.
In this lag time of completely transitioning our household food, I will begin the research. We have already taken one field trip to Costco, where we perused the aisles with reckless slowness – detailing each item we saw, making notes for future purchases and comparing ingredients in different brands of foods. My husband has offered to take me on a “date night” to a handful of grocery stores in town where we can do this same product and price comparison. The funny part is – we are both looking forward to this date night! And, in all reality, it needs to be a date night; because a toddler does not have the patience level required for food research!
We are headed in the right direction, it’s just not happening over night. And, I will get back to you with our findings…