Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Just cook... some thoughts and advice

I know in today's"Got be there yesterday, I want it now" world, cooking for yourself or for your family may seem archaic.

Well here are some stats:

Over 2 thirds of Americans are over weight and over 1 third are obese. If there are a billion people in the US (I have no idea) That would be 30 million people that are obese, 60 million that are over weight. Not sure if that includes children. How horrifying.

My pediatrician said they had a 2 year old that weighed 50lbs. 50 pounds at 2 years of age!!! And sure why not, we give them processed "Chicken fingers" and "fish sticks"... mac-n-cheese, soda and chocolate syrup in their milk. Drive through and french fries... and here are some things that could come with being over weight and not cooking:
Risk Factors for Overweight and Obesity
  • type 2 diabetes
  • coronary heart disease
  • high LDL ("bad") cholesterol
  • stroke
  • hypertension
  • nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  • gallbladder disease
  • osteoarthritis (degeneration of cartilage and bone of joints)
  • sleep apnea and other breathing problems
  • some forms of cancer (breast, colorectal, endometrial, and kidney)
  • complications of pregnancy
  • menstrual irregularities
*Sigh* And this is just the tip of the iceberg folks....

This morning I made my husband Chorizo and eggs and pancakes... Bad you say? Yes and no. I buy some of the best chorizo and it is low in grease, I mix in the egg whites. I throw in blue berries (anti oxidents) and wheat germ. Also throw in cinnamon (for Flavor) and nuts (healthy fat) We use real maple syrup not that processed crap. Maybe no less calories, but at least there aren't any preservatives, or artificial colors. And it took me as long as if I jumped into the car and ran over to Jack in the Box and got a couple of their breakfast meals. Also I controlled the portions and I knew what was going into my food. If that was where (Jack in the Box) you got your breakfast or any number of fast food places do you know what went into your mouth and body? Do you know the fat and calories or the portions? Or hey how about that low paid teenager who is pissed at his boss that day and wiped his sweaty face, ran his fingers through his hair, or just took out the trash and didn't wash their hands before making you that yummy breakfast burrito. Because you were too busy, or lazy to make a quick breakfast. Still sound yummy?

It took me maybe 45 mins from start to finish... and it cost me less probably. I didn't have to leave the house (Although everybody needs to get out and have a break, but go walking instead) Oh, and I have a rambunctious 21 month old baby all boy, I blog, I have my own business that I do research on, order for, and answer emails on, and I still have my hubby and other teenage son to take care of and my house and ALL that goes into having a home. And I am not as is as a house either. I am how ever over weight, and could stand to lose a few here and there. But it is mostly that I need to set more time aside for exercise, I do already but not enough. But I do make an attempt at staying and looking good and healthy. I don't make excuses, I just do it and get it done. I don't have any more or less on my plate that anybody else. It's all about choices.

When we eat (and I cook from scratch almost every time, I shudder at Hamburger Helper) we do not sit in the living room in front of the tv, or on our bed. We do not eat in our rooms at all. The tv goes off if it is on and we sit at the table. We eat, we talk, we joke around... And this has proven to make families stronger and better. Plus you are concentrating on your eating and not at what ever is on the tv. When you watch tv while eating you tend to over eat. Bad, bad, bad! The only time we eat in front of the tv is if we are watching a movie and it's popcorn... that type of thing. Never meals.

And parents are even worse with their kids.... they are busy so it's so easy to throw a pizza in the oven or those yucky processed chicken fingers in the oven or microwave and feed it to their kids. That garbage has dyes, and fillers and preservatives. You will put your child in a car seat, baby proof your house, hold your childs hand, yet you can't take the time to be a better parent (And Spouse) and take the time to make something delicious and healthy. How hard is it to take a chicken breast, cut it into strips, dip it in some lowfat milk, or low fat butter milk, heck even beaten egg and then roll it in 100% whole grain crushed flakes and bake it? A little garlic, sea salt, onion powder to season.... and TADAH!!! A great healthy meal for your child and you know where it came from and what is in it. And then, you stop what you are doing and sit with your child while they eat, interact with them. Oh and while you are at it while the chicken was baking you could have cleaned and steamed some fresh veggies, gotten some plain yogurt added some spices or ranch dressing mix to and that would be the sauce for the veggies and the chicken. WOW hard huh? Um no not really. And money wise... buy the chicken on sale and freeze it... probably cost less than Ore Ida or who ever sells that disgusting crap. Cut it up into strips and freeze it in small portions.

Buying fresh veggies and freezing them yourself is cheaper than buying the already frozen veggies in the market. But if you need the convenience of that, frozen veggies are much healthier. Canned veggies for one do not taste good or fresh, and they have added sodium and have lost some nutrients in the canning process. And when you freeze your own fruits and veggies you get them when they are in season and stock up, it is much cheaper this way... so you can have blueberry pancakes anytime.

Also when you shop, buying in bulk IS NOT always cheaper. Look at the unit price that is listed on the shelf for that item. Sometimes buying several of the smaller quantity items can save you money. It is a trick markets have implemented. That is because we have been conditioned that buying in bulk is better and cheaper due to places like Sams Club and Costco. But look again (if they have them) at the unit price as well as your ads. You will see and catch stores trying to pull a fast one on you. 

Also, you have heard these: Never go shopping hungry (eat some carrots or nuts), Take a list and stick to it, put impulse buys separate from what you need so when you check out you don't end up buying them. Store brands are not always cheaper (Look at Mfg coupons and sales), but in the same token store brands can be cheaper, always compare prices and quantity. Do not assume if it is some place like a Super Walmart it automatically is cheaper, especially meats. My daughter bought ground beef at Walmart and when I looked at the price per pound I about died $2.34 per lbs. No Way!  Also for a healthier option use turkey and just spice it up. It's delicious.

Cooking dinner and using fresh ingredients isn't that hard. And it forces you to stop and make time for it and for your family. Sit down and calculate how much you spend eating out a month... than take a month and food shop with coupons, and sales, and smart shopping. Go with a plan and a menu. It doesn't have to be fancy and see what you spend. And here's the thing though, even if it does break even in cost, what is the price you'd pay to be and feel healthier? To have more quality time with your family? To feel like a better and more conscientious parent and spouse? Plus you get to get kudos for really yummy fare.
Stop being lazy or too busy and make the time to cook, it's worth it...
*Next blog will be about exercise....YAY


  1. Good observations in this blog post. If you want a healthy family, making time to cook is very important.

    When families eat out a lot, it becomes difficult to control portions. The other issue is that restaurants & fast food places don't automatically pick the healthiest ingredients to make our food.

  2. Thank you so much for your positive thoughts. I agree. The restaurant I used to work for actually used some of the best and freshest ingredients, but the food would still be calorie and fat laden. Good food, but not always the healthiest.