** Heads up this is long**
Remember back when I was a good blogger. And I was all, "hey look at me I'm so witty and funny, and fabulous!" And now I'm all, "dude how can I blog when I'm trying to read, and my son is tooting his flute thingy in my fucking ear and farting on me, and my other son is all look I'm so cute you must munch on my fat thighs right now."
I remember back when I would say I was going to write a post and then, you know, like, actually write the fucking post.
Like that one post about the shoppin and the cookin and what not. Ya'll remember WAY BACK THEN? That blog stemmed from the time I went to the store and I bought a bunch of vegetables. The checker, who has been there for at least a year looked at me and said,"Wow this is the MOST vegetables I've ever see, EVER." And then he looked at me because obviously I had fucking beets growing out my ears and I was shaping up to look like a pear because no one on planet earth has ever bought that many vegetables before. I was totally shocked and inquired. He said that in his entire time working there he really had never seen someone buy that much fresh food. Suddenly I felt like I was running for president of the Most Awesome Healthiest Shopper Ever Club and I was giving my speech on why you should elect me and not Polly Processed foods behind me. After he finished looking at me like I was crazy and charging me for 9 pounds of grapes instead of a 9 pound watermelon ($19.87 difference, checker of the month my ass) I went on my way.
I thought about it for a long time. I thought about my love for cooking and started to wonder if maybe I only bought so many fresh things because I loved cooking so much. I started thinking I was so super awesome and cooked the best most healthy food, (she says as she microwaves some macaroni for her son, telling herself it's okay because it's organic..right..right, hello (crickets)). I thought I was pretty specific in my poll until I received this comment:
At first I thought home cooked meant fresh ingredients. But then I thought, well yeah, but I mean that mom throwing some hamburger helper in a pot is better then buying Jack in the Crack right? I mean sure it is still heavily processed and hold very little nutritional value, but morally she is still cooking for her family and she is still spending more time at home, and less gas and time and energy driving through a fast food joint that surely pollutes our earth more then making a frozen pizza?
There is a girl at my work who really wants to lose weight. She also wants to eat better to improve her health. I was ragging her and ragging her about how its so much easier to just fucking eat healthy. It isn't hard and cooking a damn meal, or packing a lunch, or packing a breakfast isn't that hard. I mean shit, my two year old can throw some yogurt in a fucking bag right? She shouted back at me, "YEAH BUT YOU CAN AFFORD TO EAT GOOD." Oh theres my place, and yes she put me right in it.
Shes right. Everyone is sitting here talking about the fucking crisis in America. Sound the sirens WE ARE ALL FAT ASS WHO ARE UNHEALTHY! Every magazine I open talks about how fat we all are and how to fix it. Every tv show, and movie, and book, and billboard is busy telling me how to be greener and healthier. It is being pound into my skull that I need to eat organic, and healthy. All I hear is how it is so damn simple.
Uhh, there is just one problem. You have to be a kazillionair to do it. Seriously. My grocery bill is at minimum $187.00 a week. I got really happy once when it was $150.00 a week. Oh, did I forget to mention THAT IS WITH OUT BUYING MEAT!!!!! I buy all my meat at the start of the month and just freeze it. So, I'm spending $187.00 on fresh organic fruit, and organic veggies, and organic milk ($3.50 a carton), organic green house cleaning products, fresh cut deli meat instead of the weird gray meat Oscar Meyer sells, real cheese, rather then Kraft singles, and so on. Most of my snacks have even become organic. In fact, it is safe to say the only non organic things I purchase are diapers, wipes, ice cream, and my 100 calorie packs. My tea is even organic, and yes the macaroni my kid eats is organic (it's all he likes sorry).
While I do feel 10000% more healthy, and I have lost 39 lbs by packing my lunches and cooking my food, I can't help but thinking, damn that grocery trip could have paid my power bill, and living on ramen would be so much cheaper. But then I realize that thinking about money and buying a bunch of shit is how I got where I am. And, continuing that will get my kids in the same place. Just because I have boys doesn't mean they won't some day end up over weight and out of shape. Not even thinking about vanity issues, I don't want my kids to end up so fat they can't even run around the track and end up having to be on the chess team and band geeks because they are too out of shape to make it to first base.
What bothers me is that all I hear all day is how I need to eat healthy, so you would think they would lower the fucking prices on organic foods, and healthy foods. Take me and the girl at work. Here is an example of our eating habits, and these are based soley on our different economic status:
Shannon: 1 non fat yogurt with 1 cup fresh berries, 1 dry eggo red berry waffle, home brewed coffee with low sugar creamer (all brought from home) cost: probably at least $6.00
Her: 1 jerky stick, 1 Large energy drink in a can, 1 cheese stick (all bought at gas station on way to work)cost: $3.00
Lunch plus snacks:
Shannon: 1 hard boiled egg with one piece dry wheat toast 1 tbsp mayo and some mustard, 1 fresh organic apple with 2 tbsp soy nut butter, 2 Clementine's, fresh veggies & home made dip, organic tea and filtered water (again all brought from home) cost: about 9.00
Her: On days she can afford lunch it is either Burger King for about $2.00 off the dollar menu, a large frozen burrito from the gas station for about $1.89. or another energy drink, a handful of chips and a sandwich from the gas station coming in at a whopping $4.00, other days she packs a cup o noodles from home for about $.20
Shannon: Fresh veggies, steak or chicken (for husband), with some pasta or rice. (All made at home with food from home) dinner is about $30.00 a night between husband, me and Brandon.
Her: Either 2 boxes of Hamburger Helper, some chicken with noodles, ramen, frozen burrito, or take out. Most nights they get either pizza, Jack in the Box, or McDonalds. Her dinner probably ranges anywhere from $10.00 to $15.00.
After that I have ice cream, or cookies, or fresh made berry smoothies as snacks or deserts. She can't afford such things.
On weekends I cook eggs, bacon, hash browns (grated from actual potatoes, not frozen), toast and serve it was a yummy orange juice. Some days I make a great egg sammich, or a tasty breakfast burrito.
On weekends she runs and grabs something off the dollar breakfast menu from McDonalds and since she is there grabs a couple McFlurrys or milk shakes.
I'm not doing this to brag about my food, I'm doing it to clearly show the difference between having the option to eat healthy and not having the option. Everyone in her home is over weight, cranky, and lethargic. My house we are all the right weight (or on our way there), active and for the most part upbeat. I already know I will be raising athletic kids, and my older son already has a huge interest in getting in the kitchen and cooking. Brandon would rather eat a banana or watermelon over fries, he would rather have some pancakes or cereal instead of bacon and fatty sausage or fast food breakfasts (he does like the occasional hashbrown though). Last night he argued with me that he wanted to eat his carrots and green beans before eating his mashed potatoes and gravy. I felt like I was on top of the world at that moment. Today we got home and he begged for a banana. I gave him one. I asked if he wanted anything else, some toast, a quesidilla, anything, and he said no he wanted another banana.
Now, I want to make it totally clear that I am BROKE. However I have given up most everything else in favor of eating good healthy high quality food. I traded a social life for environmentally safe dish soap, laundry soap and shampoo. I don't buy myself clothes anymore but I do eat the best tasting apples ever, and they are good for me, and guess what, when you look at my apple it says APPLE, it doesn't say processed, bleached, enriched, hydrogenated, or mechanically separated anywhere on it. My son gets only real maple syrup on his pancakes. I will not buy the high fructose corn syrup gelatinus stuff that Mrs Butterworth calls syrup. Does real maple syrup taste different then Mrs. Butterworth YES, does my son know NO! He will never know that the macaroni he is eating is different because it is organic. He will never know that his milk is lacking of pesticides and hormones. He will never know that his bananas spoil a little faster because they are organic. He won't know this because to him it will be normal. My son ingests about 3 things that are not healthy and organic, his fucking cheetos, his cream cheese (I just can't give up Philidelphia), and his chocolate milk mix. I have yet to find a organic chocolate milk mix that compares to the Hersheys kind. Other then that, his pancakes, and string cheese, and puddings, and fruit, and most cereals, food, juices (rationed) and so on are all organic. He will grow up knowing no different.
That isn't what I worry about. Because I grew up that way too. I worry about what happened to me. I worry that he will move out, be a poor starving college student and discover that ramen is a hell of a lot cheaper then organic bananas, and Suave shampoo is much cheaper then his organic kind.
I'm so bothered by all of this. I'm bothered they make it so expensive to eat healthy then have the nerve to bitch and moan at us saying it's our fault we are fat lazy slobs. I'm bothered that moms who make a frozen pizza or throw together some Dinty Moore beef stew are labeled as lazy unhealthy cooks, simply because they can't afford all the ingredients for a fresh home made stew, or the ingredients to make a real pizza. I'm bothered that we are made to feel bad for our decisions at the check stand yet the government can't seem to lower the prices enough to make it affordable for the whole world to be healthy.
I want to make it clear that Brandon doesn't eat near as healthy as I would like. He prefers macaroni, cheetos, and cream cheese right out of the container. I will admit this is my fault. When I was pregnant, and right when he was born, it was more important to me to worry about money then to worry about quality of food. I figured I could fix him later. I also weighed almost 200 pounds. Then I woke up, realized I needed to make a change, and I'm fighting tooth and nail to make my son healthier right along with me. I am only happy knowing Codi will never know junk food. He will never know low quality stuff. Brandon and I will work on this together, but soon I will win this battle, and he and I will be broken of our bad habits completly.
An acquaintance of mine once talked about how very very obese people often say that they are over weight because they have a disease. And while I do understand that maybe now they don't know how to change those things, that had they been given the right tools and the proper upbringing, and been able to afford healthier options they never would have been there.
So, I guess now I have to ask all of you. If money was no option would you cook more meals using fresh ingredients. I don't mean making tuna salad, I mean making a real home made soup, or a salad with a real vinaigrette, or tacos, with actual veggies, and good tortillas not the cardboard preformed kind, with veggies on them, and real cheese, and maybe even chicken instead of ground beef? Would you cook more then, and pack more lunches, and eat more home made meals?
I also pose a challenge to you. Instead of just grabbing the cheapest box of premade stuff, why not actually check out your store. Why not realize that you can buy a pork tenderloin for $5.00, 4 potatoes, for about $2.00, and a bundle of broccoli for about $3.00 and have a home made meal for 2-4 for just around $10.00. Then realize, that $10.00 can't even feed one person at a fast food joint anymore. It is possible to eat healthier (maybe not organic but at least home made) for less then you can get fast food.
So maybe tonight, look through a Betty Crocker, clip some coupons, buy some fresh ingredients and teach your kids, how to be healthy. I'm not even saying spend the money for organic...I'm just saying, try fresh for once.