After turning the television off to do some work, I realized that most of the commercials this morning were of processed foods. In fact, the airwaves are inundated with processed foods even the so-called dietary foods are processed. So what’s the big deal? Well, back in the day before “latchkey” children, McDonald’s and other fast foods, there was no such thing as “processed” foods. Foods took the time to prepare.
People sat down and ate their meals without rushing. The food was a necessity that was cherished and relished because it brought people together. Even snacks were not processed. That’s because snacks were usually a piece of fruit or a homemade cookie with some milk. Granted, most women were “stay at home” mothers (mine being one of them). So, she took the time to prepare healthy, delicious meals. In fact, she and my dad were ahead of their time in eating healthy and exercising. Both suffer from high blood pressure, so they changed their eating habits early.
When I was a little girl, my mother took my sister and me to Texas to see our grandfather. We stayed for 2 weeks. My sister and I had the best time, mainly because our grandfather spoiled us. Go figure…Anyway, he lived near a river that was teeming with catfish. He knew that we loved fried fish, especially catfish. And for those of you who have only had it blackened, you haven’t really tasted catfish. There is nothing like fried catfish! Anyway, he would get up early every morning and go to this river and catch catfish.
He’d come home, clean it and soak it in batter and fry that bad boy up. OMIGOSH! With some grits, eggs and biscuits, that was the ultimate breakfast. Now, PaPaw was a very old school cook. Any time he fried something, he put a big dollop of lard in the frying pan first. Oh, and that included if he was frying bacon! The bacon came from the hog that was slaughtered in the backyard and the lard came from the bacon fat.
He loved his grease. And he also smoked his own rolled cigarettes. By now you’re wondering why I’m sharing this childhood memory. Well, my grandfather was in his 90’s when he passed away. He died of emphyzema, not hardening of the arteries. Probably would have lived longer had he not smoked.
The point I am trying to make is that back then, in “his day,” there were no processed foods. Everything was fresh. Even when I was growing up, if the food at the supermarket was not fresh, it was in a can or frozen-but it was just food. The Adorr Milkman came by our house and delivered milk, fresh eggs, fresh butter and cheese a few times a week. The Helm’s bakery truck came by every day selling freshly baked breads and other pastries-including donuts that Krispy Kreme wishes they could copy. People in our neighborhood grew their own vegetables and had fruit trees. And we all shared. Even though my elders were serving their children fried foods almost every day, the food was still “pure.” The veggies served were either fresh from someone’s backyard or from the supermarket. The ingredients on the packaging were very simple. It was exactly what you were buying. There were no additional words that no one could pronounce. It was what it was.
In this day and age, it may be virtually impossible to cut processed foods out altogether. However, these foods should not be a major part of a healthy lifestyle. The foods that should be a part of everyday lifestyles are pretty simple. They’re foods in the food pyramid. These are foods that are pure and necessary for healthy bodies. They are proteins and carbohydrates. Both are necessary for a healthy body, not one without the other. If we continue to get sucked in by the processed food commercials, we will continue to fight a losing battle with obesity. If we go back to basic eating, then most of us Americans will no longer be morbidly obese, but at the very least, healthy.