Editor’s Note: This website is not designed to, and should not be construed to, provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion or treatment to you or any other individual, and is not intended as a substitute for medical or professional care and treatment. For serious.
There’s a small solution to our big problems.
Convenience is Killing Us: The Revolution takes Place in Your Kitchen.
If you’re like most of my patients, you probably spend more time perusing Facebook or Instagram than you do in your kitchen.
That’s unfortunate, since the kitchen provides a place to rebuild community and connection, strengthen bonds with family and friends, teach life-giving skills to our children, and enrich and nourish our bodies and our souls.
In today’s speed-up culture, spending time in the kitchen often takes low priority.
The food industry loves this.
As they have hijacked our kitchens and taste buds with all manners of super-convenient concoctions that pass as food, the consequences are showing up around our waistlines.
In 1970, out-of-home food expenditures accounted for 26.3 percent of total food costs per person. In 2002, that number rose to 46 percent and is most likely even higher today.
The results are monumentally disastrous. In America today, 69 percent of us are overweight and over 35 percent of us are obese. Researchers predict if these trends continue, one in three Americans could have Type 2 diabetes by 2050.
Children and adolescents will suffer the most. In less than a decade the rate of pre-diabetes or diabetes in teenagers has risen from nine percent to 23 percent. Stop and consider that: Almost one in four kids have pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes.
Even more shocking, 37 percent of kids at a normal weight have one or more cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or high blood sugar.
Based on those and other jarring statistics, can you begin to see why we need to reclaim our kitchens, for us but also for future generations?
Transforming the food industry might seem a daunting undertaking but the power and obligation lies within each of us. Every time we visit a grocery store, we vote with our wallets. Every time we make a homemade meal with our family rather than order in or eat out, we become more empowered. The hundreds of small choices we make every day can topple the monolithic food industry.
Cooking real food is a revolutionary act, one that we need to reclaim. Today we have a second generation of Americans who don’t know how to cook. The average child in America doesn’t know how to identify even the most basic vegetables and fruit; our kids don’t know where their food comes from or even that it grows on a farm.
To them, cooking means microwaving. Food “grows” in boxes, plastic bags, and cans.
Reading labels is supremely unhelpful in identifying the source of most foods—the ingredients are mostly factory-made science projects with a remote and unrecognizable lineage to real food.
We’ve bought into the excuses: cooking real food costs too much, is too hard, and takes too long. You know the excuses. As a result, we load up on inexpensive convenience foods.
That convenience is killing us. The pharmaceutical industry wins, giant food companies win, and we lose. We lose our health, our self-esteem, the quality time we can share in the kitchen with family and friends, and our quality of life.
One study found Americans spend the least amount of money of any nation—only 6.8 percent of their annual income—on food. Food is the best investment in your health.
Real food can be inexpensive. Choosing simple ingredients, cooking from scratch, shopping at discount club stores, and getting produce from community supported agriculture associations (CSAs), community gardens, or co-ops all build health and community and save money.
We need deep-seated changes. We need to subsidize real food instead of the walls of processed fat, sugar, flour, and trans fats that line our grocery and convenience stores.
We need to end food marketing to children. We need to make schools safe zones for kids with only those products and activities that support healthy minds and bodies.
Those are lofty, worthwhile goals, but real change begins when we start at home with a kitchen makeover. Once you have taken back your kitchen, then you can start something really revolutionary.
One by one, kitchen by kitchen, community by community, we can take back our health together. Are you in?
As you become more cognizant about food quality, are you cooking at home more than eating order or ordering in? Share how you are contributing to the revolution below or on my Facebook fan page.
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Editor: Rachel Nussbaum