My Real Food Journey
When I was living in Nashville and first met my husband, my idea of a perfect meal was frozen chicken tenders cooked on the George Foreman grill with a side of frozen broccoli heated in a saucepan until limp and then sprayed with I Can't Believe It's Not Butter. For breakfast? Egg beaters poured into a tupperware container and heated in the microwave for 1 minute, then topped with ketchup and fake cheese. Oh, the horror.
As I reflect on that time, I realize I thought I was doing the best thing for my body, when in reality, few of the foods I ate had any nutritional value. Worse yet, they were jammed with fake sweeteners and other synthetic compounds. Yes, I can believe it's not butter. Butter isn't meant to come from a spray bottle.
Steven thought my odd, restrictive food ways were crazy when we first met, as he already own a KitchenAid mixer and had an entire cabinet of spices and herbs to lovingly incorporate into his dishes. (Granted, he also had some cans of SPAM in his cupboard, but we'll let that slide.)
Though he didn't necessarily eat "healthy," he was definitely a foodie. I clearly remember the first few times we cooked together, and I almost had a coronary when he liberally poured olive oil into the pan to sauté some veggies. "But won't olive oil make me fat?" I asked him desperately. Back then, my idea of "real food" was a waxy apple with no taste, low fat cottage cheese or Kraft singles, or the occasional banana I would allow myself (since I considered them too starchy to eat on a regular basis). Potatoes were usually out of the question, although somehow french fries from Jackson's were easily rationalized. I knew nothing about organic produce or sprouted grains or healthy fats.
Little by little with each meal he prepared for me, I began to really taste food...to really discover its enjoyment on a daily basis, not on a once-in-a-blue-moon splurge, but everyday. As a next step, we started the journey in 2006 away from all processed foods towards real food with an emphasis on organic, local, and pastured. I've chronicled some of those thoughts here and here and here.
Now, I actually appreciate food for its sustenance and enjoyment, whereas it used to be something I measured and kept reigned in very closely. I could care less how many carbs are in a tomato or a potato. Tiny berries and tomatoes from our garden taste like little candies, and that's how it's supposed to be.
When I was downing Caffeine-Free Diet Coke on a regular basis and swore I'd never give up Splenda, I had no idea that a few years later, Steven and I would own an organic produce co-op and urban farmstead. That's the next chapter of the story...