|Posted by BGF FitnessSite on March 14, 2017 at 9:35 AM|
Rebuilding Family Food Culture + Simple Practices that Restore Health
Family meals were a cornerstone in ancient and indigenous cultures.
Food brings families together. Home cooked meals made with whole foods should be an integral part of protecting our health and improving family dynamic; however, between technology and overstimulation, convenience "fast food" products and food-like options, we have lost the powerful connection between food, family, and wellness. That disconnect is so strong that in the face of a nationwide obesity epidemic and health crisis, we are looking to pills, crash diets, body wraps, technology, and plastic surgery before we consider switching out the poisons we eat and drink on a daily basis. If you desire to transform your health (or your family's health), then you must transform what and how you are eating first.
Home cooking should be found at the core of our wellness practices. The fastest way to change the way you or your family looks and feels (physically) is to start cooking with and eating whole foods again. If it comes from a bag or box, and the product ingredient list has more than 1-5 components along with chemical additives and preservatives, then it's not real food. Understand that these chemicals send information to our cells and alter physical and mental well-being. With time, your return to a whole and natural way of eating will change your body’s chemical structure, and greatly improve your digestive health aka “the second mind,” generating power to flow over to other areas of your life.
Family food culture echoes throughout the entire community.
What if I don't have time?
To which I ask, why do you feel that you have a choice? To say that we don't have time to prepare nutritious meals for self or family is to say that we don't have time for our health. Nourishing your body is not an option, and has never been. So it's important to stop living as though it is an option. It takes about 10 minutes to throw a complete nutritious meal in a crockpot, and it will be done by the time you get home from work. Consider going with a good, better, best policy. If you can't go with what's best, go with what's better. If you can't go with what's better, go with what’s good.
If you'd rather not take 30 minutes out of your morning routine to wash and chop fresh vegetables for your crockpot meal and clean up before heading off to work (you need that time for sleep or to get the children ready for school), then consider buying pre-washed and cut organic, frozen vegetables. That will cut your meal prep time down to just a few minutes.
If you're missing out on nutritious breakfasts because you're pressed to get out of the house and off to work/school for the day. Try throwing some Crockpot Oatmeal on the night before, or keeping some Manna Bars on deck (shameless plug). Perhaps allow one of your older children to make the plates, while you continue to prepare for the day as needed. Kids can and will be very helpful in the kitchen if we teach them. Here in the US, most kids reach 18 and have no idea how to prepare nourishing meals from scratch, but in many places kids are cooking, gardening, and contributing to their family's food culture and household before reaching double digits. These skills are a strength for our children.
Experts cite the decrease in home cooked, family style meals as one of the major contributing factors to this nation's obesity epidemic. Here's an excerpt from Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign...
Obesity by the Numbers
"Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, and today, nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. The numbers are even higher in African-American and Hispanic communities, where nearly 40% of the children are overweight or obese. If we don't solve this problem, one-third of all children born in 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives. Many others will face chronic obesity-related health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and asthma."
How Did We Get Here?
"Thirty years ago, most people led lives that kept them at a healthy weight. Kids walked to and from school every day, ran around at recess, participated in gym class, and played for hours after school before dinner. Meals were home-cooked with reasonable portion sizes, and there was always a vegetable on the plate. Eating fast food was rare and snacking between meals was an occasional treat.
Today, children experience a very different lifestyle. Walks to and from school have been replaced by car and bus rides. Gym class and after-school sports have been cut; afternoons are now spent with TV, video games, and the internet. Parents are busier than ever, and families eat fewer home-cooked meals. Snacking between meals is now commonplace."
So that being said, there are a few things that we set an intention to do as a family. Life happens, and everyone's life happens differently. So we don't get to these things every. single. day. It's not about "perfection" - it's more about committing to doing the little things that enhance our health and family dynamic just as much or more than our commitment to things that offer resistance to our health and family dynamic.
Family and community feasts were common practice in ancient civilizations. Should we be paying more attention to this?
1. Strive to eat at least one meal together as a family each day.
Benefits of Family Dinners according to The Family Dinner Project:
Better academic performance
2. Let the kids cook. Not packaged or microwave meals, but real meals from scratch. We try to have a kid's cook night once a week where the kids decide what we’ll eat and cook it, but they help out in the kitchen regularly.
3. Limit electronic usage. Our children have electronic games, but they are only allowed to use them every-other-day. I use the OFFTIME app to be mindful of my own use of social media and non-productive internet surfing. ( OFFTIME ) lets you focus and find digital balance in a hyperconnected world.
4. Grow food, buy local, or support Farmer's Markets. These experiences can completely shift our perspectives on what food is and should be.
5. We stopped gathering knowledge and started doing what we already know. Expand your knowledge with the intention to apply it and make your life easier. Gathering a bunch of information about food or health is not useful if we never apply it. Instead of searching for knowledge, search for recipes, and start changing the foods you eat on a daily basis. Start moving. Start shifting. Even if it’s small, it matters.
6. We strive to move together, every day, even if it's just a 10-minute walk down the driveway and back.
These are simple and sustainable changes that will make a difference. Transforming your health or your family’s health does not have to be a massive, stressful lifestyle overhaul. Instead, it can consist of small, intentional daily changes. In time, small things, done with consistency add up to a massive change.
Grab a copy of my book, Your Personal Wellness Cocktail: A Step-by-Step Guide to Mind, Body, and Soul Fitness if you’re interested in a grounded, actionable, and sustainable approach to wellness. The topics and information we cover in the book are universal, adaptable, and applicable for all ages and lifestyles.
I hope this serves you well,
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