Convenience Foods: A Rant

*Sigh*

There are reasons convenience foods exist. There is a reason that the snack food industry was $124 BILLION industry last year.

Because no one has time to do it any other way. When you get home from work and have to shove the kids in the car for one to go to piano lessons and the other to go to soccer practice, while your spouse is running late or on a conference call so the help that you thought you were going to get hasn’t arrived and then the to-do list is still running through your head of all the things you have to do before you can finally call it a day: Laundry, Dishes, Pack Lunches, Answer Emails, Call Mom…

Of COURSE you are going to throw a pre-packaged granola bar at your kids to eat in the car and stop for fast food on the way home.

Then on nights when you ARE actually home for dinner, you are so exhausted from the day that the best dinner you can muster up is frozen pizzas. Hey, if it’s a supreme, at least it has some veggies on it…right?

I don’t know what the point of this post is, other than just to say “I get it.” I have one kid. Who is three. And I actually like to be in the kitchen cooking and baking. And still I get it. It’s exhausting trying to balance good food and wholesome ingredients, with time. It’s mind numbing to go to the grocery store and not be able to just pull something off the shelf and trust that it is good for your family. Even for me–someone who knows how to read food labels and is interested in this stuff.

If you know me at all you know I am all for personal accountability for your choices. But this is one area that I firmly believe that individuals can’t do it alone. The Food Industry needs to change. Stop putting chemicals in our food just because it is cheaper than the real thing. Start caring more about the customer than about the bottom line. Stop being cagey and start being honest about what is in and how you make your food.

And Government: now I’m looking at you. Stop caring more about the dollars you get from the Food Industry Lobbyist and START DOING YOUR DAMN JOB: You know, looking out for the American people who voted you into office and gave you a job in the first place. But this topic is another post for another day…

So what’s the answer??

All you can do is the best you can do.  Maybe instead of a prepackaged granola bar that is crammed with refined sugar and fake food-chemicals, you throw the kids an apple on the way to practice.  Give ’em a water instead of a soda.  Instead of the McDonald’s drive through, you hit up Subway on the way home.

And if dinner happens to be a supreme frozen pizza, pick the one that has the fewest fake sounding ingredients…and tell yourself “at least it has veggies on it.”

***It’s really super easy to make your own frozen pizzas that you can take out of the freezer on a busy weeknight.  Click here for the recipe and process.

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My Story-Part 2

I’ve been putting off writing this post.  I’m not sure why, but it’s hard for me to accurately express this part of my story.

There are 1000 different paths to a healthier life.  I’m only here to share the one that I took.  Maybe parts of it will resonate with you, maybe not.  Everyone has to find what works for them.

For example, a tip that you will here over and over is “find a gym buddy.”  Well you know what?  Gym buddies don’t work for me.  We end up doing more talking than working.  Truth: I get a better workout by myself.

So here goes…

When we last left off, I was 30 pounds heavier than I had ever been and had just moved back to Pennsylvania.  These were the days of the P90x craze and I had a few friends trying it. I jumped on the band wagon.  I didn’t get the weight loss results I wanted (now I know that it’s not really a weight loss program) but I do credit it with changing my attitude toward working out.  Somewhere around the second month, my attitude changed and I began…if not exactly looking forward to, not dreading the workout.

(So apparently I have lost the before and after pictures from this stage of the journey.  Kind of bummed about that one, not gonna lie.)

Around this same time, I watched a documentary called Food, Inc.  NEARLY simultaneously, a large nationwide recall of ground turkey AND cantaloupes occurred.  I began to eat less processed food and more organic fruits and vegetables.  I began to read about the additives in our food supply and what they do to our hormones.  But that’s another post for another time.

Next, I began running.  I dabbled a bit with it in college but was never really serious.  But what stuck with me was that it was the only thing that really got the weight off the way I wanted it to.  So I began with couch to 5k, a program I highly recommend if you want to get in better shape but are starting at zero.  In October of 2011, I ran my first 5k and cried when I crossed the finish line.  True story.  I had never been prouder of myself than in that moment.

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The rest is a little bit of this and a little bit of that…

I’ve dabbled in Zumba (love it), spin classes (hate it), morning workouts, evening workouts, home workouts, gym workouts.  I trained for a half marathon I never completed and I’ve learned to be a pretty decent home cook.  I’d love to do an obstacle run someday and I spread the gospel of eating organically to everyone I talk to.

This is what worked for me.  As I was proofreading this post, I realized that it sounds so short and simple.  But it’s been a journey of six years to get to where I am today.  It did NOT happen over night.  I have completely changed who I am, not just physically, but mentally as well…which is difficult to express in a blog post.  Anyway,  find your own journey.  In the words of the great and wise Buddha: buddha385920