Monday, April 20, 2009

Avoid the Convenience Foods

We are a nation that loves convenience and speed. Precooked frozen dinners, dehydrated food, meal-in-a-bag or can or box and microwave everything food. You can buy a frozen, microwavable egg and bacon breakfast! Or, how about luncheon meats with cheese and crackers all in one nifty package and ready to eat? We even have instant rice that takes five minutes to cook.

The length and names on the list of ingredients on most of these convenience foods is astounding. Unless certified organic, most prepared foods contain preservatives, artificial (chemical) flavors and colors, loads of salt, sugar and hydrogenated fats. Not listed would be pesticide residue from the ingredients in the product. I shudder to think about the meat source in processed food.

But these foods are a great time saver, you might argue. This instant rice takes only five minutes to cook! While the rice only takes five minutes to cook, everything else will take a half hour or more. How difficult is it to boil water or broth, add rice and allow it to simmer while cooking the rest of dinner? Instead of ending up with some pasty white stuff that has been stripped of most of its nutritional value, you can sit down to some wholesome and delicious real grains of rice.

The manufacturers of processed food want you to believe that you are saving a great deal of time and energy by buying their products. But, cooking healthy, tasty meals does not have to take a long time. If you plan well, you can cook for more than one meal at a time. The damage to the environment of excess packaging, the high cost of purchasing ready-made food and the low nutritional value (or downright unhealthy food) should convince you to make your own meals. In my opinion, processed food just tastes awful. Even if the stuff were nutritious I couldn’t eat it. Believe me, once you get used to the taste of real food, you will not want to eat processed food.

Raw, organic food tastes better than non-organic! Organic apples, sans the wax coating, actually taste and smell like apples! The clear, clean tastes of organic produce are unbeatable.

Most organic food is no longer much more expensive than non-organic and the gap is getting smaller every day. Buying raw ingredients instead of prepackaged is less expensive. Additionally, the long-term costs to our health and to the health of our planet should be an incentive to pay a little extra for organic ingredients. Also, if you invest in healthy organic food, you will probably save in doctor’s bills because your body will remain healthier.

Possibly the best reason to cook from scratch (or close to it) is that you add your love to the meal which affects everyone who eats your food. Think about when you have eaten meals prepared by happy, loving cooks. No matter what the meal was, it probably tasted good. Likewise, if you can avoid doing so, don’t cook if you are angry or depressed. The negative energies that you emit will enter the food.

Excerpt from the award winning book, Harmonious Environment: Beautify, Detoxify & Energize Your Life, Your Home & Your Planet, copyright 2007.

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