Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A sad commentary on the content of America's shopping carts

Yesterday my darling husband went to Sam's Club to shop for some items I needed.  And as he stood at the check-out a nice, elderly lady commented how nice it was to see a man eating so healthy. My husband informed her that it was as per a shopping list his wife gave him for our family. Upon hearing that the nice lady said: 'Oh, bless her heart for feeding her family so well.'

What was in that cart you ask?
1 g. Milk
1 3lb. tray of stew Beef
1 bag Gala Apples
I  box Grapes
3 Cucumbers
1 bag Onions
1 3lb. bag Broccoli
1 bottle White Wine
1 box of fake (Cholesterol Free) Eggs

The thing that we find so sad is the fact that a shopping cart filled with healthy food is so noteworthy as to provoke a comment. Had he stood there with his cart full of cardboard, plastic and preservatives he wouldn't have stood out at all. But apparently a cart full of fruits and veggies is unusual. To me this is another sign that maybe I am doing something right after all. We are eating fewer and fewer preserved items. Even my son has lately turned into a veggie chomping kid who happily snarfs down all kinds of veggies. It took time to bring him to this point but it happened.  Yes, we eat chocolate and Nutella makes a regular appearance on top of whole wheat bread in our home. But we also eat a ton of veggies and fruits and apparently that is a rare thing among those who shop at Sam's.  My kids like juice as much as the next kid but have gotten used to the fact that we don't have it every day. As to 'sugar bubbles' aka soda... we never buy that for our home. It simply isn't something that finds it's way into our diet unless we make a rare trip for junky fast food.

Fresh foods aren't that hard to make. And by eating healthier foods we end up eating less. Tonight's dinner was Chinese Beef Broccoli. 1 lb of beef and almost a pound of broccoli florets fed the four of us with a little left over.

I am not a health nut. But I have, over the last two years or so, become increasingly aware of the garbage we put into our mouths. And we, as a family, are working on fighting back. We do eat out once in a while. And yes, we eat Nathan's Hot Dogs once in a while too while gulping down coma inducing amounts of liquid sugar (aka Coca Cola).  But we believe that it's OK, as long as those indulgences are tempered with a healthier daily lifestyle which includes lots of  fresh vegetables and fruits.

Now if I can only nail down the exercising part....

I shall rant and rave about 'high fructose corn syrup' in an other post.... LOL


Jenn said...

See my problem is that I am so use to packaged foods that I would not have the slightest clue what to do with the food in your grocery cart! I really want to change but not sure where to start!

Arby said...

The big debate between my wife and myself where shopping is concerned is buying "ingredients" instead of prepared food. If you want noodles in an alfredo sauce, buy me noodles, cheese, cream, and butter and I'll knock your socks off. Don't buy anything in a jar or a foil pouch. Yuck!

Eva said...

This is so true, Marlis, especially in more rural areas, when you buy real food (vegetables, grains, fruit, eggs, etc.) you are the strange shopper. We really like some more "exotic" vegetables (collard greens, kale, broccoli raab, etc.)and always run into trouble at the cash register when the cashier needs to find out what our vegetables are called so that he or she can find the right price!

Marlis said...

Jenn, oh, using some packaged foods makes life easier for sure. I love to use Sam's chicken ravioli and eat them together with a ton of zucchini, peppers, olives, and other veggies that need to be used up along with some marinara sauce. But you'd be suprised how easy it is to get used to making things yourself and how, after a while, you can't eat the packaged stuff any more.
Here are two tips.

1) start small. Let's say, pancakes. Find some recipes online and try making them from scratch rather than using a packaged mix. Don't go into a major complicated recipe. Something simple. I'll post a recipe I found online for pumpkin pancakes next. These are amazing. Try it.
2) Visit Some recipes are complicated but the large majority are pretty easy to make and I get a lot of inspiration from there.

The key is not to overwhelm yourself. I come from a family of cooks. Both my parents are amazing cooks and we entertained almost every weekend. For me it's hard to follow a recipe to the 't' because I am not disciplined enough. The urge to 'improvise' is hard to resist. LOL. Don't feel like you need to do that yet. Just follow the recipes and learn the basics if you are not familiar with them. Also resist the urge to become this amazing Mama in one week and cook from scratch every meal. You'll just burn out. Do one new recipe this weekend and leave it at that.

Arby, call me next time you make Alfredo, I am drooling already:)

Marlis said...

Eva, I thought that only happened to me. Another thing that throws people at our market for a loop is when we get lentils and legumes. We get the 'what do you cook with that?' questions a lot. We love lentils. They are tasty, versatile, and so healthy.

A Homeschool Story said...

I clearly hear both sides! I am blessed to be married to a Frenchman who WILL cook if I will not, which has always meant never getting take-out. What took me completely away from convenience foods was my study of behavioral problems and preservatives. We started with one less packaged food item a week and finally went completely preservative-free. It helped to say, when asked, "we can't eat any preservatives." It made it harder to get away with in public, lol!

You can do it, and everyone will be healthier, long-term, for life.

I'll post some of my favorite "easy, all-natural ingredient recipes" on my blog next week too, great start with the pancakes, Marlis!