What’s Better for You–Aliens or American Food?

My husband posted this alien-looking picture on Facebook this morning. He is on a business trip in Hong Kong. I showed the picture to my kids and said, “Look what Daddy saw hanging in a restaurant window–isn’t it scary?” I was surprised when my 7 yr. old daughter replied, “Not as scary as all the chemicals in our food!”

She’s right on so many levels. Of course, her response may have been prompted by the fact that I have been binging on documentaries about organic foods, the “Slow Food Movement”, eating local and the dire condition of the average American diet. Movies like “Forks Over Knives,” “Food Matters”, and “Fresh” have really made a big impact on my thinking as of late, primarily because I realize that people who live on a remote island like Guam may have it even worse. Many grow up thinking food is something that comes out of a can! A peach is something you find in a pie. A sale on a case of corned beef or Spam is like striking gold. A fresh snack is opening a large bag of Doritos and it’s not stale!

After taking some time to really think about what we have been doing to our bodies as a community, I committed to making a change for myself and my family. I’ve had my kids reading the labels on their favorite processed foods (which is a basic food group in most of our homes). I leave a “produce plate” on the table with a variety of fruits and veggies so there’s something for even the pickiest eater. We will go on a field trip to a local organic farm soon. This can be fun!

Medical fundraisers for diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer are sky-rocketing. For most, diet is the biggest game changer, but changing the way we look at our plates is not easy. I mean, I won’t be slapping a roasted squid on the table any time soon. But ensuring that fresh fruits and vegetables make it on every plate is a great start. Teaching our kids the realities of what we’re putting in our mouths is vital. Watch some of these documentaries together. They are really life-changing.

We may not get a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s any time soon, but we can start where we’re at. Walk the periphery of the grocery store and start with fresh produce (organic if you can afford to). Don’t go all hog wild (pun intended), just because there is a “5 for $19.99” sale on meat. Be knowledgable about proteins and good sources aside from red meat. Buy local! Visit our local farmers on the side of the road and maybe even Google recipes using their seasonal offerings. Not too difficult!

RANTING & RAVING MOMMY TIP: I occasionally use media and mama-drama to persuade my kids. Many of you have seen the infamous “pink slime” pictures that eventually become a McNugget. I showed that to my kids and proceeded to explain the gory details about how the whole chicken was strained to get the goo. I know that seems kind of cruel, but I don’t think it’s that far from the truth. So now, if anyone offers my kids a McNugget, you’ll see them shutter at the mere mention! I’m good, huh? (Have yet to conjure up terrible images for french fries though).

Periodically, I will post some yummy recipes and food pics so we can share some slow, chemical-free, locally-grown, delicious food.

Now back to that picture. What is that freaky poultry next to the squid? A turkey with crazy goosebumps is my best guess. Ewww!

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One thought on “What’s Better for You–Aliens or American Food?

  1. Carol Santos says:

    Very wise Janiece. About the french fries … if you can get Idaho potatoes, use them. I find that my sugar levels don’t sky rocket as they do with potatoes from other states. Blanching cut potatoes in hot water (170*F) for several minutes will leach out sugars, cleansing the surface of the fries, to allow them to brown evenly. Instead of frying the potatoes, bake them, turning them often so they get a little crispy edge to them … putting them under the broiler for a couple of minutes will also lend to the crispiness. =)

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