Eating (Real) Food

In addition to being vegetarian for the month of January, I undertook the very difficult endeavor of not eating any processed food. This was quite difficult, much more so than being vegetarian. Being vegetarian was a discipline of the will at times but not eating processed food was also a discipline in time. No longer could I run to the store for veggie burger buns. No longer could I even buy a loaf of bread. I had to make homemade bread if I wanted any. And just about anything that comes in some sort of packaging was off-limits. This meant that I had to take extra time cooking meals. This idea sprouted after reading Michael Pollan’s book, In Defense of Food. He proposes that people should eat real food rather than processed food engineered by the food industry. I believe he defined process foods as anything containing more than 8 ingredients, including at least one term that you had no idea what it was or could not pronounce it. This was the definition I used as I embarked on my first grocery shopping experience with this new resolution. And it was terrible. Have you ever gone to the store and starting looking at food labels? Well, don’t. It will make you depressed when you realize many of the things you eat, you really have no idea what they are. But they taste good so we just keep eating it. The convenience of processed foods is great. I missed it last month. But it also made me become more in tune with what I ate. I could no longer inhale a quick dinner. Now I had to plan dinner and take time to make it. This was a real challenge for me, but one I urge you to try. Even for a week. Or maybe just start looking at your labels. We need to be aware of what we eat.

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