Last week I attended a couple of really great cooking classes, put on by Run for Awareness. They're an organization that promotes healthy eating and living. The first one I attended was called How to Stock a Healthy Pantry. It was phenomenal! It was 3 hours packed full of more information that I could possibly take in. I was scribbling notes like crazy. All of the classes were based on a vegan diet, which was wonderful, since I'm hoping to move my family in that direction. Even if we don't become completely vegan, I would like to minimize the amount of animal products we use, and eat vegan meals as much as possible. They talked about the importance of various oils in your diet, choosing organic whenever possible, varying your grains, using different types of beans and legumes, sprouting grains, beans and seeds, how to convert a regular recipe to a healthy alternative, the list goes on and on. They talked about vegan diets being the best choice, because it means we are getting our nutrients directly from the source - plants. When we eat animals, or animal products, we are getting it from a secondary source - the animals eat the plants, we eat the animals, and vicariously get whatever nutrients they have. But our bodies do not absorb those nutrients as readily, and the environmental impact of eating higher up on the food chain is huge.
Even though it was a LOT of information, and they barely skimmed the surface, I am more determined than ever to make the healthiest choices possible for my family. It reinforced my belief that choosing organic is the best way to go. I've always struggled with the extra cost of organic, but I have come to realize that we can't put a price on our health. Our children's bodies are so tiny, I can't imagine the effect of years of ingesting pesticides would have on them. I learned that white sugar contains lead. Yes, lead. And that aspartame causes brain lesions. And that most of the packaged, processed stuff that most of us would call food, is not food at all. It has been so over-processed that it actually more closely resembles chemicals, and our bodies treat it as such.
But more importantly, I learned there is a whole world of wonderful, nutritious food out there! I was fascinated listening to all of the benefits that each food has to offer. I fully believe that we all have the ability to make ourselves well just by being more aware of what we are putting into our bodies. It made me want to have a closer relationship with my food. I want to grow it myself. I want to make things from scratch. I want my children to know what they are putting into their bodies, and why. I don't just want to tell them to eat their broccoli, I want them to help plant it, water it, care for it, and bring it to the table. I want them to know why we eat broccoli, and to share with them all of the wonderful benefits it has to offer.
Although I have SO much to learn, I feel as though a whole new world has been opened up to me, and I am going to take this opportunity to embrace it, and learn as much as I can. I feel that it is not only a priviledge, but a responsibility as a parent. I owe it to my children to make the healthiest choices possible on their behalf.
I look forward to sharing with you as I learn on this journey, and I hope you will share with me as well! I am definitely feeling my way through this, so I would love to hear about any information that any of you has to offer.