Wholesome food, family eats together, everyone is healthier. Pretty simple. It’s never too early to get the good eating going. Even Cookie Monster knows this:
Here’s an excerpt from a recent article by Mark Hyman, MD (www.drhyman.com). For local healthy food info, try GardenShare.
How Eating at Home Can Save Your Life
The slow insidious displacement of home cooked and communally shared family meals by the industrial food system has fattened our nation and weakened our family ties. In 1900, 2 percent of meals were eaten outside the home. In 2010, 50 percent were eaten away from home and one in five breakfasts is from McDonald’s. Most family meals happen about three times a week, last less than 20 minutes and are spent watching television or texting while each family member eats a different microwaved “food.” More meals are eaten in the minivan than the kitchen.
Research shows that children who have regular meals with their parents do better in every way, from better grades, to healthier relationships, to staying out of trouble. They are 42 percent less likely to drink, 50 percent less likely to smoke and 66 percent less like to smoke marijuana. Regular family dinners protect girls from bulimia, anorexia, and diet pills. Family dinners also reduce the incidence of childhood obesity. In a study on household routines and obesity in U.S. preschool-aged children, it was shown that kids as young as four have a lower risk of obesity if they eat regular family dinners, have enough sleep, and don’t watch TV on weekdays.
One hundred years ago all we ate was local, organic food; grass-fed, real, whole food. There were no fast-food restaurants, there was no junk food, there was no frozen food — there was just what your mother or grandmother made. Most meals were eaten at home. In the modern age that tradition, that knowledge, is being lost.
That is why I believe the most important and the most powerful tool you have to change your health and the world is your fork. Imagine an experiment — let’s call it a celebration: We call upon the people of the world to join together and celebrate food for one week. For one week or even one day, we all eat breakfast and dinner at home with our families or friends. For one week we all eat only real, whole, fresh food. Imagine for a moment the power of the fork to change the world.
Here are some tips that will help you take back the family dinner in your home starting today.
Reclaim Your Kitchen
Throw away any foods with high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated fats or sugar or fat as the first or second ingredient on the label. Fill your shelves with real fresh, whole, local foods when possible. And join a community support agriculture network to get a cheaper supply of fresh vegetables weekly or frequent farmers markets.
Reinstate the Family Dinner
Read Laurie David’s “The Family Dinner” . She suggests the following guidelines: Make a set dinnertime, no phones or texting during dinner, everyone eats the same meal, no television, only filtered or tap water, invite friends and family, everyone clean up together.
No matter how modest the meal, create a special place to sit down together, and set the table with care and respect. Savor the ritual of the table. Mealtime is a time for empathy and generosity, a time to nourish and communicate.
Learn How to Cook and Shop
You can make this a family activity, and it does not need to take a ton of time. Keep meals quick and simple.
Plant a Garden
This is the most nutritious, tastiest, environmentally friendly food you will ever eat.
Conserve, Compost and Recycle
Bring your own shopping bags to the market, recycle your paper, cans, bottles and plastic and start a compost bucket (and find where in your community you can share you goodies).
Invest in Food
As Alice Waters says, food is precious . We should treat it that way. Americans currently spend less than10 percent of their income on food, while most European’s spend about 20 percent of their income on food. We will be more nourished by good food than by more stuff. And we will save ourselves much money and costs over our lifetime.
To learn more tips for taking back the family dinner and using your fork to effect change in our world visit www.drhyman.com .
HOW MANY MEALS EACH DAY/WEEK DO YOU EAT SITTING AT A KITCHEN TABLE, WITH FAMILY OR FRIENDS? I’m really curious about North Country eating. Do we spend more meals at the table than, say, urban dwellers? Let’s start an unscientific survey right here. Let’s focus on dinner. Of the seven dinners each week, how many do you prepare and eat at home?