Food. What a huge subject. Let me start by saying that I am a Certified Nutrition Therapy Practitioner. Now, this doesn't mean that I have the magic diet that will help everyone achieve their ideal weight or health goal (I know, I can hear the "boo's" as I type). But, what it does mean is that this will be a section of the blog that aims to make sense of all the different things you hear and read about the "perfect diet".
Looks, um, delicious and nutritious?
Cooking and nutrition were two of the main subjects that Home Economics focused on. After all, a person is really only as dynamic as their health will let them be. Unfortunately, with the fall of HomEc most people today will probably burn water when they try to cook (I know I fell in that category not too long ago!).
I also don't think it's a coincidence that with the disappearance of Home Economics, childhood obesity rates have trippled. Even towards the end of the hay-days of HomEc, rather than teaching students how to properly prepare a nutritious meal, they were taught mostly about convenient, processed foods. In 2013, Ruth Graham wrote an article in the Boston Globe about Home Economics, pointing out that by the 1960's and 70's "Home economists, including teachers, had also become hopelessly entangled with the interests of food and appliance companies, promoting convenience foods and consumerism in the classroom". I'm not saying that convenience itself is bad (I definitely enjoy the ease with which my hand blender makes a potage on a cold winter's day), but I think that by bringing corporate interests into the classroom we lost a big piece of Home Economics, and the public's nutrition suffered because of that.
...exactly what we all strive for...
Nowadays, we have a plethora of choices when it comes to convenient, fast food. It's easier (and a lot of times cheaper) to pick up a prepared meal at the grocery store or McDonald's rather than cooking something at home before or after work. And while it's certainly nice to have that quick option, it may not always be the best for your long-term health.
Learning to prepare home-cooked meals has numerous health advantages. I'll get into this more in detail in future posts, so for now I'll just give you a few snippets of the advantages. First, by buying the produce and meats ourselves we will have a better idea of where they come from and therefore the meal will (hopefully) be more nutrient-dense. Next, we will help our body digest the food better since we have very specific neural responses which start the moment you smell the food being prepared. Finally, we will experience the "tastes like home" factor which is super satisfying.
And I didn't forget about sustainability! There are a lot of things to think about in this arena: from genetically modified potatoes (which also have not been tested for any medical ramifications) to the packaging that processed foods are sold in. As the blog unfolds, we'll get more into the specifics of how home-cooking and sustainability go hand in hand.
Remember: you are what you eat!
At the end of the day it all comes down to education. If I can learn to cook healthy food that will make my body thrive, so can you!