Do No Harm

January 16, 2006

Since I am sick today (figured out, we all have the flu…the real flu, not the stomach flu…)…anyways, my mind started thinking randomly about some things, one of them being the food industry and the responsibility it has to bring healthy food to its consumers.

50 years ago…I am just going back that far because it seems that it was around that time boxed foods and the food industry just started developing. Before that time you pretty much bought whole products, like meat, fruits, veggies, flour (yes I know it is processed) and made your own foods. My grandmother, 80 years ago did not go to the store and pick up a tv dinner. Americans were thinner and people of those time lived to be in their 90’s (or atleast in my family.)

Today, there is fast food at every corner of town and there are store shelves lined with foods to make our lives easier. Easier, meaning we aren’t spending the whole day cooking for are families so they can have nutritious meals. We need fast, like 20 to 30 minute meals. Sometimes we can do 60 minute meals, if we don’t have to stand in the kitchen that long. The food industry has pretty much accomodated us accordingly and I swear to them, quicker is better, regardless what is in it.

The generations of knowing how to cook and what is healthy to eat are getting older and the younger generations are walking into stores expecting to pick up a box of something with a side of chicken and expect it is healthy for you. You take it home, cook it for your family and then realize one day the stuff you have been cooking over and over is terrible for you. It is high in sodium, it is overly processed and has bad things in it that mix in your body to make really bad fats. We as consumers are getting fatter and I don’t see much move in the food industry to be responsible in creating healthy balanced (and fast) meals.

Now, I am not saying that I am not responsible for cooking healthy for my family. I am just saying that everwhere you look it is bad, bad, bad. Let’s just say there are 25 restaurants that surround my house (within 5 miles.) If I walked into any of those restaurants, how healthy will I be eating? Even the step above fast food restaurants are pretty unhealthy, I am talking about Red Robins, Chilli’s, or Applebees…,granted Applebees does have some weight watcher items on the menu it still isn’t uber-healthy. Just because it says weight watchers doesn’t mean it is healthy for you. Oreos are on the weight watchers diet, did you know that? Weight watchers is portion control. However, Oreos cannot be good for you. They are super processed with junk that did not exist in our diets over 60 years ago.

Who is going to be the person that gets rich off of providing healthy (not diet fad) food? Who will be the first Healthy Fast food alternative? I am talking drive thru and EVERYTHING on the menu is healthy, good for you, and is a balanced meal. I would definately drive thru…even if it tasted like card board (which is funny because rarely does real food taste like cardboard…it is the real stuff.)

There are so many times I am rushing the kids around and think to myself, I wish McDonalds wasn’t so unhealthy. Yes, I do swap the french fries for the apples in the kids meals. Still, the nuggets are so bad, ever seen SupersizeMe?

There are some nights my mom will call and ask me what I cooked the kids for dinner. These are nights we ate whole grain crackers, cheese, apples, and carrots. What? It is balanced. So, it isn’t your average dinner. What is an average dinner? Honestly, what do you do when you are rushing around town and are looking for something healthy for dinner. When you run home to cook a quick meal, what is it?

On Friday I go into my new doctor to discuss my health. The first topic we will discuss will be my weight. I already know my downfall and that is not knowing enough healthy well balanced meals to cook that are easy and cheap and also not eating enough food earlier in the day and then by the evening I am starving and eat too much bad food. It is this time that a hamburger is okay in my book because I starved all day….not so good. It is at this time I will give him my, “I am trying look”…and then ask him for suggestions at which time he will tell me:

Eat less carbs, more protein and ______this many calories. On paper it seems so easy. I guess I will have to use my sarcasm (defense mechanism) and tell my new doctor that I have strategically readied my body for famine…

It is my responsibility to take care of my body and to eat healthy and to provide healthy food for my family. However, think about this….it is the resposibility of medicine to pretty much Do No Harm. Is it really asking that much to have the food industry take on that same responsibility? After all, it is the food industry that is nourishing our nation.



  1. Hope you feel better soon.

    What you say is VERY true.

  2. Unfortunately, the food industry, like any other industry in a Capitalist society, is only interested in their bottom line. Obviously they can’t do anything too outrageous or they will get sued…along the lines of e. coli and all that.
    (I was going to write more here, but I will just email it to you)

  3. Also, it’s not only what we eat nowadays, and how much; but our general lack of activity. A study of some Amish people found they ate enough (homemade, often homgrown and unprocesssed)food that they should be gaining weight at an alarming rate, but they spend their days doing the majority of their work without modern conveniences. Both men and wommen expend much more energy than the average American, so even though their intake of calories should be enough to supersize them, obesity is rare because they are all doing physical work from a young age.
    Moral: we need to get more exercise if we intend to eat like our forefathers.

  4. Wow, very well put, not to mention that our society has also capitalized on the effects of this unhealthy lifestyle by creating a mulit-billion dollar diet/supplement industry. Kinda gross when you think about it.
    Have you ever seen a nutritionist?
    I have bad jaw problems and can only eat soup and have heard that many people see a nutritionist (about $60 a session,) go over their time and lifestyle issues, and come out with a lot better knowledge of how to cut corners and still stay healthy.

  5. I agree with you, Wendy! I’ve already heard my children complain about the length of (perceived) time it takes to cook dinner. Once they are hungry they want to eat. NOW! They are learning that good food can be easy to prepare and planning ahead helps. And even on the days I’ve forgotten to thaw something out, we can usually come up with something quick.

    It sounds like you could really use the Saving Dinner Menu Mailers. I can personally attest to the yummy factor of the Frugal Menu Mailer and the Crock Pot Menu Mailer. I’ve also tried some recipes from the other sample menus. It’s made a huge difference in our grocery budget and I don’t have to answer that always whiny, panic-inducing question, “What’s for dinner, Mom?”, because they can see dinner planned out on the calendar.

    Hope you’re feeling better soon!

  6. We’ve been trying to eat healthier foods too. It definately takes more planning and time, but the food is soooo much yummier! Even my uber picky 11 yr old is enjoying it (mostly *g*)

    I don’t have the time or the kitchen set up to do it completely, but we’re switching to whole foods. I’ve stopped buying boxed foods, except for pastas which I now buy whole wheat, I do keep some basic staples like tomato sauce and cream of mushroom soup on hand for convienience. No more Stove Top, boxed this n that though. If we want it, I’ll find a recipe and make it.

    It’s a pretty big step for me, see, me and the kitchen have never been on a first name basis 😉 It’s just the room that keeps my coffee safe. Suddenly I am in there a *lot* though. So far the Kitchen hasn’t tried to kill me, so I guess we’re doing alright 😉

  7. wendy, i think you are right on in this one. i also know what your saying about how much easier it is. but like most people, we often do not think about it and just grab and eat. eating healthy has many benifits , along with weight loss, there is less clogging of the arterys, less sodium ect. i try and cook from scratch most of the time, but whats hard for me is the standing while cooking(which i am sure you understand with your bac the way it is.) buit often can whip a meal together in less than a hour. i bake my own bread, and we use fresh veggies 9 out of 10 times, and eat mostly chicken and pork with occasional lean cuts of beef. we also eat a lot of pasta being italian, but unlike most carb laden foods, pasta is actually good for you, as it is a slow release carb . don’t go into starvation mode, will only make you more frustrated as you will not lose the weight you want to, i am finding that since i cut back portions and eat many small meals i keep losing weight. to date have lost 54 pounds 🙂 and all the exercise i can do is walk, and not a lot of that, but is all about control and not just grabbing whatever. i hope your feel much better. have not talked to you in a bit, must remember to pm you and see how your doing LOL. hugggs my friend and good luck

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: