I used to buy a lot of boxed foods. A lot. Hamburger helper, macaroni and cheese, frozen pizzas, even boxed instant mashed potatoes. I was ignorant in my knowledge about food, and frankly, I had no one to blame but myself. Not to mention, I was not a very confident cook, so easy was my mantra. As the woman of the house, it was (is) my job to feed my family, and feed them well. Not Mr. F's, or anyone else's...mine. And to feel them healthily. So, I began asking God to show me ways I could feed my family better, more healthy. Little did I know the wealth of information I would come across after that. I was told about this woman's blog, who has helped and inspired me a ton in many ways (not just with food, but mostly). I started reading up on things like fast food, artificial sweeteners, processed foods, high fructose corn syrup (most of which was everything in my fridge and pantry) and I learned so many things about them that made me swear off them forever. Let me share with you *some* the things I learned...
Fast food is a given. We all know it's not good for you...at all. But, the reason I stopped eating it for good was because I watched this video. Take the time to watch it. It will make you never want to eat another french fry again.
Splenda and other artificial sweeteners (aspartame included)- Everyone knows how bad Sweet-N-Low is for you. And to be honest, splenda is no better. You know why? Because these things have so many chemicals in them. And we all know chemicals are not good for you. Chemicals are things that aren't supposed to be in your body, and in fact, gave one of my friends horrible migraines. That is not a good sign! What irritates me about artificial sweeteners is that they are marketed to be GOOD for you. No calories, no calories! Don't be deceived. It's bad stuff. If you must have a sweetener, try Stevia. It's more expensive, but it is natural and better (I think!) than all the others. Let me get off the soap box to move on to the next thing.
High-fructose corn syrup - This is in everything, it seems. I went through my fridge and pantry ripping out and disposing of everything that I had that contained it. I even just recently stopped using jelly that had HFCS in it, which I didn't realize, and bought some new jelly-HFCS free. Here are a few facts I found about HFCS:
- The chemical make-up of HFCS differs from that of glucose in that fructose isn't broken down before it arrives in the liver, and is instead converted to fat.
- Also, research has shown fructose to have a negative impact on insulin and leptin - the result being greater hunger.
- It can make you sick. It has been known to contribute to many health problems from diabetes to heart disease.
- It makes us fat. It contributes excess calories to our diet.
And I am sure there are many more, but these are reason enough to stop eating it. Oh, and I recently heard that food companies are switching the name on their products to "corn sugar"...I guess too many people figured out how bad it was for you. I want to tell them, quit trying to trick us into killing ourselves!
And this is just to get you started. There is a ton more out there about what foods to avoid and what foods to eat. You can never go wrong with fresh vegetables (steamed is so, so good), fresh fish, eggs (organic brown are the best!), whole grain breads/pasta/rice, and other things I'm forgetting to mention, probably. I am still reading and learning all I can on how I can make our family a healthy family, and my hope is that you will too.
Oh, and please try not to let cooking intimidate you. I used to and it crippled me. I have been given a new courage to try new things, cook new things and the result is extremely gratifying! So please, go try new, healthy recipes!