Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Thoughts On Healthy Eating

I realized the other day that I haven't put together a "mission" for this blog. Kind of a simple definition as to why I started it, what I hope to accomplish and my thoughts on food and my background. I think it's time to do that. So here goes. . .

I'm not a dietitian. I'm not a nutritionist. I'm not a food scientist.  I'm not a expert on food or professional cook. I have no formal education or training when it comes to food. What I am is a wife and mom who loves to read, bake, cook and create. I have an addiction to cookbooks and food blogs and I probably need help! It all started back in the 70's when as a kid I used to watch "Master Chefs" on PBS after school. Then came cable TV and the Food Channel and it was all over for me. I was officially obsessed with food. Reading, researching, baking, creating and driving my family crazy. 

Both my parents have had cancer; Dad's been in remission almost 30 years, hallelujah, Mom passed in 2008 from a 10 year battle with breast cancer. (Love ya Mom!) Both my husband's parents have had cancer as well; Mom passing in 1995 and Dad currently in remission. Both my maternal grandparents and my paternal grandmother (and her sister) had cancer. Cancer, cancer, cancer, I just can't get away from it. What caused their cancers? Environment? Lifestyle? Genetics? We may never know. What does it mean for me? My husband? My children? Who knows. What I do know is that we've got a darn good reason to live a healthy lifestyle. If, god forbid, any of us do get cancer, I want to make sure we've got healthy bodies to fight it.

When my daughter was born I became a ferocious label reader; vowing to make sure she had only the healthiest of foods. As you can imagine I quickly became overwhelmed and virtually paralyzed trying to shop for groceries. Nitrates? GMO? Organic? All-natural? Free-range? High Fructose Corn Syrup? Artificial Colors? Artificial Flavors? Trans Fat? Saturated Fat? What did it all mean. There were so many conflicting stories about what was "safe"; what caused cancer; what was "healthy". I had to find balance. To commit to a strictly organic, free-range, all-natural lifestyle was both expensive and logistically difficult when you're trying to work and raise two kids. On the other hand, everything in the "main stream" grocery aisles had some sort of "no no" ingredient. So where did that leave me? 

What I've come to is a 80/20 philosophy on healthy eating; 80% healthy/20% don't worry about it. How does that work? I try to buy organic as often as I can. However, if I can't find an organic version of whatever I need, I don't worry about it. I avoid nitrates in lunch meat but if we are out at a baseball game I go ahead and let my kids get a hot dog and I don't worry about it. I try to avoid high fructose corn syrup, artificial color and artificial flavor in the majority of foods that we eat day to day. We don't deprive ourselves of sweets and treats but do try to keep them homemade where I can control what goes into them. Every once in while I'll splurge on a box of Fruit Loops or Oreos and I don't worry about it. Basically, I try to keep the foods at home as healthy, organic and all-natural as I reasonably can. And for the one or two times a week that we eat out, I don't worry about it. Kind of an "all things in moderation" mentality. And well, for the past 13 years, it seems to be working for us. All healthy, all thriving. Amen!

What does all this mean for this blog. Well it means that you'll find a wide variety of recipes that fall all over the healthy eating food spectrum. For example, a recipe for an "everyday" dinner dish will most likely lean more to the healthy side. A post for Birthday Cake, no so healthy. Cookies need butter and sugar and I love butter and sugar so I use butter and sugar. I don't make low fat cheesecake or whole wheat pizza crust. I do use all natural meats and organic dairy and produce when I can find them. Again, it's about finding a balance for yourself and it's different for everyone. For most recipes you can substitute an organic version of the called for ingredient and by all means please do. This isn't a healthy eating blog. It isn't an all-natural or gluten free blog. It's not meant to advocate any particular lifestyle or diet. What it is is a chronicle of my passion for food, cooking and baking. Things I've learned about, things I want to try, things that have worked for me and things that I want to share with you.

OK, so that wasn't a simple definition, but I think you get it. Where I'm coming from. And I'll say it again: I'm not a dietitian. I'm not a nutritionist. I'm not a food scientist.  I'm not a expert on food or professional cook. I am a wife and mom who loves to read, bake, cook and create. . . and I'm a Food Blogger thanks to all of you.

Bon app├ętit!

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