I didn’t used to care very much about what I ate. I always tried to eat basically healthy and my body has always been quick to correct me for gross violations (e.g. ice cream is not an acceptable dinner). But now I’ve started to look a little more closely at what goes into my body. There is a lot of conflicting nutritional information out there (Atkins? Vegetarianism? Traditional ethnic diets?) but I’m currently basing my diet on two general principles:
1. Eat food that is as close to its natural state as possible (whole foods).
2. Eat food that was produced using methods that I support by someone I know (local foods).
They can both be challenging and I am making lots of exceptions at the moment but it’s nice to have some guidelines, even if Will sometimes protests. Part of his concern is taste and the “fillingness” of the meals I cook. The other part is concern about higher prices, especially for items like meat and cheese where the local organic humanely-raised version tends to be much pricier than what one might find on sale at the grocery store meat counter. Admittedly, it’s easier for me since I’m not that much of a meat-eater to begin with. Still, I believe it’s entirely possible to satisfy carnivorous urgings while only eating local, organically raised meat and while staying within a reasonable budget. It won’t be the cheapest option. You could certainly eat cheaper by buying factory farmed meat on sale but for me, it’s worth a little extra to know that my meat comes from happy, healthy animals that were not filled with crazy hormones or antibiotics.
Eating more whole foods means spending more time cooking, which I usually enjoy but admit that sometimes it’s a pain. So I try to compromise; I don’t grind my own flour fresh from whole grains but I do try to buy whole wheat (or rye) flour that is unrefined and unbleached. I take the time to cook a whole chicken and then separate it out into chicken slices for sandwiches, chicken bits for casseroles, and chicken stock for making soup. It’s a fulfilling project when I have time. I’m also working to improve my cooking skills and to discover ways to make meals from whole foods that Will finds delicious and satisfying. (He’s doing the same although his goals are a little different than mine so he tends to focus on projects like baking the best biscuit or finding a cheap homemade substitute for tuna helper.)
Some of the tricks we’ve tried include casseroles and stir fry dishes that combine a relatively small amount of meat with an abundance of vegetables and starches, eating lots of local eggs, making good use of Will’s favorite starchy vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots), and experimenting with different spice blends. We’re making steady progress. I’ve also learned to look the other way when Will pulls out a frozen pizza loaded with heavily processed sausage made from factory-farmed pigs and suspected carcinogens and says “Yum.” Marriage is supporting your partner and accepting his personal choices, even when they’re gross.