Monday, March 19, 2012
We have become a nation who eats recreationally. It is part of our "entertainment" expense. We have snacks and processed food and junk, because we like the taste of it. We are kidding ourselves if we think snacks are good nutrition.
In my childhood home, grandmother* would have a fit if we kids were offered ice cream before dinner. That wasn't allowed. Grandma made simple homemade meals, with little meat, all week long. Sunday dinner included meat as the main dish. This was common in those days.
When Grandma passed on, my mother continued with the common tradition of making sure we ate nutritionally. We had a home- cooked dinner every night at the same time. There were no snacks to hold us over until the meal was ready. We greatly appreciated the food when it was served because we had time to become genuinely hungry.
The only time we had snacks was on Friday nights. We children all looked forward to the homemade popcorn and a little soda. We would watch a program with Mother and Dad on that night and enjoy a special time together. If there was soda in the house, on the weekends, we were allowed only one glass. After that we had to drink water.
Mother always had orange juice and milk in the house. We drank the milk with meals and the juice in the morning. These were not all-day-long beverages to enjoy. They provided a certain amount of nourishment that we needed. But overdoing the nutrients was a waste, because the body could not use it.
We had plenty of tea and water available throughout the day. If we children wanted soda (other than on Friday night) we bought our own, from the local corner store, with money we had earned ourselves.
If we wanted extra snacks, candy, or junky convenience foods, we bought it on our own. I still remember my pink, homemade bookcase that My Father made me. It was in my bedroom and that is where I kept pop tarts and the occasional treats I would buy from the store myself. This kind of junk was never in our kitchen cabinets. Mother knew it did not satisfy hunger. She knew it did not provide basic nutrition, so she didn't buy it.
I remember babysitting, as a young teenager, and finding cabinets full of hostess snacks, chips and cupcakes! I couldn't believe it! It was exciting! (smiles) One family, in particular, was a mother and father who had a baby. I was the babysitter. When the parents left, I checked the kitchen for snacks and couldn't believe how much junk food they had! It was only two adults and not even any children, and they were eating all those treats themselves! This was obviously for entertainment. It was for enjoyment. I knew it did not provide any nutrition.
In other countries, throughout the world, people eat basic foods like whole grains, potatoes and locally grown produce. If we gave them a box of highly processed American snacks, what do you think that would do? How do you think they would feel?
In the old days, Mother would serve oatmeal, or porridge in the morning. She would serve homemade cornbread, biscuits or bread. She would cook with homegrown potatoes, carrots and onions. Her seasonings came from the garden. I don't think her fruit trees produced bbq potato chips or candy bars.
We have become a nation who expects junk on a daily basis as if it were a necessity. This kind of eating makes us unhealthy, broke and unsatisfied. It reminds me of birthdays. When we give our children presents all year long, buying them some of the things they want, rather than waiting for their birthday, they become selfish, and think people "owe" them things. They don't learn to wait. They don't learn to delay gratification. They don't learn to work for things. Every single one of us will appreciate things more if we have to wait for them.. . To earn them. . Like ice cream (smiles). . . I remember watching my father make homemade ice cream outside. He had a large bucket and had to crank the handle for a long time. He worked to make the ice cream that we got to enjoy. We appreciated it very much! But I don't think I appreciate buying a carton of ice cream from the supermarket.
Now I must say, if you looked into my shopping cart today, you would find junk. . . (sigh). . We are all going to struggle with this because it is such a normal, expected part of our diet! But this is something we all have to fight. This is something we will all struggle with. Because if we keep giving-in to buying and eating the garbage, we will be broke and diseased.
* Grandmother - Our family lived in the same house with my grandparents, just like my parents now live here in my home with my family.
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