We’re a “regular” family, living a busy life, trying to eat in a way that’s healthy–for us and for the planet, that uses “real food” as much as possible, that tunes in to the wisdom of traditional foods instead of modern fake food, and still fits into the real world. A real world where days are spent taking care of our active and amazing almost 5 year old granddaughter and 14-month old grandson. [Pic above from pre-grandson days. Note to self: get a new picture with both kids!] A real world where I’m lucky enough to work from home, but where work still takes up a chunk of the day. A real world where we like to eat good food!
Now, we’ve always liked to eat good food. But for most of my life, that included making generous use of packaged “convenience” foods, partly because I always worked outside the home, was always busy, and felt like I needed all the shortcuts I could get to meet our desire for good food.
But there were other reasons, too.
One, in many cases I simply didn’t know the difference. I didn’t realize how yucky lots of the ingredients were in those ready-to-use mixes and prepared foods. I didn’t know how quick it would be to fix essentially the same item from scratch, thereby eliminating the odd additives that seem to be in everything. (Once you start reading labels, it’s pretty appalling what it “added” to an otherwise perfectly normal food item, taking it from the real-food realm dangerously close to the fake-food realm.) Of course some things will take longer to prepare, but overall, with some education and planning, you can eat food that “tastes” like you’re used to without it all coming prepackaged and pre-prepared and without it turning into a full-time job. (And, dare I say it, your tastes may even change!)
Secondly, although I feel like I’ve always been well-read, interested, and educated (about health, food, and so on), I realize looking back that I certainly didn’t pay all that much attention to a lot of what I read. I can remember a point in my past feeling like folks who were up-in-arms about GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) were just a little over the top; after all, we’d been eating “hybridized” food forever and what was the big deal anyway.
Well, I’ve come to see the error of my ways 😉 but what that means is that I can truly relate to everyone who’s just now exploring this world of “real food.” Been there, done that, as the saying goes. And unlike a lot of folks in the real food community, I’m not a purist, I’m not judgmental, I’m just a real person trying to provide myself and my family with the healthiest food I can, within the “reality” that makes up daily life.
Ironically, when we first moved to Costa Rica back in ’06, it was the lack of some of those nifty American packaged foods that we really noticed and missed. Bear in mind, we’re not talking about Twinkies and Spaghetti-Os, but rather things like rice pilaf mixes, meat substitutes like Boca burgers, Craisins, StoveTop stuffing mix, baby cut carrots, bottled/packaged marinade mixes, and other “normal” foods.
In time, though, as I became more and more aware of what’s IN most of that stuff—the additives, the chemicals, the sugars (in many hidden forms), the high-fructose corn syrup, the just plain unnecessary gunk—I found I missed it less and less.
What I did come to miss more, though, and something we’ve come to treasure about being back in the U.S., is the simple variety of options we have here. There are so many different vegetables and fruits; so very, very many organic options; and things that I might have had to make from scratch in Costa Rica since they simply couldn’t be bought (such as all-natural peanut butter, made from nothing but peanuts or good quality artisan bread) are readily available to buy here in Utah.
Join us on these pages as we explore the world of real food. And know that what you’re getting here is also real life—it’s not sanitized for publication or all judge-y about folks who are making other choices. Just trying to make the best choices for us, and hoping to help you do the same!