By Suzanne Reisler Litwin
I can live on bread and butter, cheese, chocolate, bananas, pasta and ice cream for the rest of my life! And… I think I just might do that.
The more I read about food, the more I learn that everything I eat has something wrong with it. Basically, everything is bad for you unless it’s organically grown from the earth. That’s the popular message about food today.
I have a friend who is a vegan. She only eats plant-based foods. For years she has tried to convince me that fruits and vegetables are the best foods for your body. The truth is I don’t like vegetables at all. Sometimes I will eat a tomato or some carrots and I will force cauliflower down my throat. Honestly, if I could avoid vegetables for the rest of my life, I would be very happy. I also can’t tolerate any leafy vegetables, so salads with leafs are a disaster for me. When I buy specialty salads (which isn’t often), I ask for only vegetable and fruit ingredients and no leaves. My salad ends up looking like dog food! When I walk into my local salad bar store, the manager looks at me and says, “Dog food?” I just smile and nod.
So, I tried to eat as my friend does for about two weeks. Basically, I felt sick most of the time. I had tons of gas too. No one wanted to be near me. I also felt like I had the runs too. The food went right through my body as if it was turbo charged. My friend kept telling me that my body was going to adjust to the new foods and eventually I was going to be fine. I wasn’t fine. I became dehydrated, miserable, and I was hungry all the time. Didn’t I mention the burbing and f#rting?
After two weeks I stopped and went back to my regular diet. Within 2 days I was feeling fine. Her diet was horrible for me! Now, I live with the guilt that what I eat is bad for me. Which I have to believe is still ok.
I’m trying to improve our food choices, so as to buy the best products for myself and my family. The problem here is I can’t make a decision based on all the food selection.
So, here I am in the grocery store and I need to buy orange juice, but I can’t! I can’t decide which kind of orange juice is best for us. These were my choices: Orange juice with pulp, some pulp, no pulp, some calcium, added iron, added fiber, 50% less calories, low acid, organic, extra pulp, tangerine only, mixed blend, etc… Help!!! This was really confusing, so I went for the basic – original blend, some bulb.
I need some milk. Here were my choices: milk which is whole, 2% fat, 1% fat, no fat, skim, almond milk, coconut milk, soya milk, organic in all the above mentioned, and/or pure filtered, non-pasteurized, or pasteurized, etc… Here’s a new term, “Farm to Table” local milk in all the above varieties too. Geeez! What am I supposed to do? I bought the almond milk because I think I remember seeing it in my friend’s fridge. Is it going to taste like almonds? I don’t even like almonds. I think I goofed!
Next, I needed eggs. Here were my choices: Farm to Table local eggs, organic eggs, small, medium, large, extra-large eggs, free-range, non-caged, brown, white, fresh brown, omega 3, dark yolks, double yolks, and not-ever-refrigerated to build a better planet egg!!!
I just want my ice cream. That should be easy. I usually choose ice cream which first ingredient is crème. Not ice cream with milk products injected air and artificial stuff like candy. I like pure creamy, naturally smooth ice cream. Just good ol’ fashion chocolate or vanilla. This should be easy, but it wasn’t. I think I had about 20-25 different varieties to choose from. I nearly froze my fingers reading the ingredients on the packing.
I’m confused about the difference between Farm to Table and Organic foods? What is the difference or is there a difference or is this the same, just a new term? I think I need a ‘glossary of terms’ when going grocery shopping.
There is a really nice organic food store near my home. I occasionally go there to buy yummy cheeses, apples and vegetables. The apples in this store actually taste like apples from the orchard. They are fruity in a perfume kind of way. I go out of my way to buy my fruit and vegetables there. However, I seriously need to mention this now, the store smells of spices that sometimes makes me gag! Am I the only one who is affected by the smell of organic food stores? I walk in and I’m suddenly reminded of the smell that I can’t tolerate. I quickly buy the produce I need and get out fast! It doesn’t matter which organic food store I go to, they all seem to smell the same way. It’s a smell of spice that is so strong, I need fresh air fast! Maybe it’s just me…
Through the minefield I tried to buy the best foods for my family and navigating the varieties, I do manage to put together a healthy organic meal more often.
Did I mention our family’s favourite dessert? There’s nothing like smashing a Whippit cookie against your head, peeling the chocolate off slowly, sucking out the marshmallow, and devouring the cookie… I just can’t help myself!
Suzanne Reisler Litwin is an instructor at Concordia University in The Centre for Continuing Education. She is a writing instructor at The Cummings Centre. She writes a weekly column in The Suburban Newspaper and at the West Island Blog. Suzanne is a freelance contributor to The Suburban Newspaper, West Island Blog, Wise Women Canada, The Metropolitain, and Women on the Fence. She is the author of the children’s book, The Black Velvet Jacket. Visit suzannereislerlitwin.com to read more of her published articles, books, and poetry.