I miss enjoying food for the sake of it. But now the healthy living culture and environmentalism and trying to model healthy eating habits for my kids combined with alarmist reports about hidden dangers in our food (additives! Transfats!) have me feeling guilty every time I write a shopping list and anxiety-ridden over meal preparation (and as we know from my comments on the “Debs in the Kitchen” week, I’m no Martha Stewart).
I find myself arguing with TV pundits – and when I do this, my kids give me strange looks – when they come up with new unhealthy things every minute. We switched to wheat bread because it’s better for you than white bread. (Since when did white bread turn evil?) Then I found out that our “multigrain” bread is actually not that great, that it’s “whole grain” bread that’s supposed to be so wonderful. Then I checked the relative prices in the grocery store and had to scrape myself up off the floor.
Now Dr. Oz on Oprah is going on about “steel cut” oatmeal. Seriously? I was feeling all virtuous eating Quaker Oats but my oatmeal is not cut with steel? Does it matter how it’s cut? I’m sure five seconds online could answer this question but when I’m standing all fuzzy-brained with bedhead in front of my coffeemaker or scribbling a shopping list while playing tug-of-war with the dog and simultaneously referreeing sibling squabbles it’s not something I think to do.
(So, I just now Googled steel cut oatmeal. Supposedly this type of oat retains more of the healthy stuff, and apparently it can take as long as an hour to cook. I swear, the food pundits hate me.)
And that’s before I’ve even started on what my kids eat. I know I should be buying all fresh produce and milking my own cow and washing, chopping, slicing and preparing wonderful natural treats. And, all this, plus the cow, should be locally grown so I’m not ruining the environment by supporting factory farms and having my food trucked across the country with fossil fuels. (Speaking of buying local… I’m all for this but if I only buy local food, won’t I get scurvy because Michigan’s growing season is about three months long?)
Even my beloved sushi, which I think is healthy (lean protein!, fatty acids! Omega-something!) has cropped up as controversial, something to do with depleting the fish supply in certain parts of the world, not to mention the way fish are great at storing up ocean pollution in their little bodies.
I take solace in the fact that red wine and dark chocolate in moderation are good for me. At least, that’s what I understand, and if anyone’s heard otherwise, be a love and don’t tell me?