i now express my politics in the kitchen

foodrenegadefist_150UPDATE: Turns out I’m a food renegade without knowing it, so i entered this post in Fight Back Friday.

I’m taking a break from being a whirlwind of cookery in the kitchen. I figure I need twenty minutes or so right now to sit on my butt and write this blog post. You’re welcome, Internet.

Tonight, Ben and I made N’Oatmeal Cookies. I’ve been doing a full time Paleo diet YTD, Ben is still eating grains, but we’ve been trying to up his healthy fat and protein intake, especiallyt at snacktime during the day. These cookies are basically pure healthy fat from grass fed butter and almond flour, plus raisins and dates, and Ben loved them. Since he went and ate all my grass fed jerky this week, I’m trying to find him another nutrient-dense, low glycemic snack for him to eat in lieu of the Triscuits/Oreos/goldfish he gets fed in after school.

I’m also making chili (using butternut squash chunks, grass fed beef, and a jar of leftover salsa I made a couple weeks ago), and I’m making Paul some ginger snaps using some failed cookie experiment batter. I was seeing if I could replace butter with clean beef fat in cookies. The answer is a resounding NO…unless it’s mixed with molasses and ginger to cover the taste and made into wheat cookies for my husband.

Lately, I’ve also been talking more about my nutrition beliefs. I follow a strict Paleo diet now, which I have found cuts down on my anxiety AND keeps my weight under control. It started as a Whole30 challenge, and then just kept going. But a big part of this was that I read Salt, Sugar Fat at the same time I was reading It Starts With Food”, and I realized that my nutrition beliefs are now dovetailing with a set of political and commercially ethical beliefs.

This is because Paleo isn’t necessarily just about not eating grains, but about eating a “real food” diet, with no processed food. This means I am no longer funneling money to Philip Morris. I am no longer supporting food conglomerates that have bent the farm subsidy system and the USDA guidelines to create a profitable environment for themselves. I’m not going to go so far as to point out that the major food corporations also stand to profit, via the diet and health industries, from the epidemic of ill health they themselves created. But I am going to point out that none of the executives from that industry who were interviewed for “Salt, Sugar, Fat” would eat, or feed their families, their own products.

So I’m basically doing an ongoing “Occupy: My Own Damn Kitchen”. Yes, this takes a ridiculous amount of effort. But I’m no longer supporting a broken food system with my hard-earned dollars, and that makes me happy. Instead of paying for cheap ingredients someone else has processed, I’m paying for high quality ingredients that I will just process myself. I know I’m taking the best steps possible towards my husband and son’s health, AND I’m using my middle-class income to support food suppliers that have ethical practices.

And yes, I recognize that this is very much a first world problem, and a practice that only wealthy Americans with access to specialty food stores can engage in. I’m not advocating that every parent go bake organic cookies for their kids right this moment. But I am advocating that more parents consider what they are trading for the convenience of cheap packaged foods. If it takes me four minutes to cut up an apple and sprinkle some lemon juice on it, why the hell would I buy a pre-packaged fruit flavoured snack?

(And don’t even get me started on fast food. I don’t just avoid fast food with Ben because of the nutritional value. I can’t bear to set place in any fast food places because of their horrible employee pay standards and environmental practices. That, and the fact that most playgrounds in fast food restaurants are literally covered in poop)

Everyone has to make their own decisions on what nutrition is best for themselves and their kids, and how high a priority food and food prep is going to be in their lives. I’ve decided that I need to re-evaluate some of the commonly held values dictated by the USDA, because I’m getting suspicious that the food pyramid we all thought was healthy is actually determined by special interest groups (Actually, I KNOW the food pyramid is bullshit. Potatoes are not a vegetable in Canada. They’re a starch, dammit). In that process, I’ve started eating differently, and putting more effort into feeding my family differently, which in turn, requires me to remove my dollars from the corporations who are contributing to the waves of illness in America, and invest those dollars in food suppliers who match my ethical beliefs. Or, as I put it to Ben, “no one wants to eat a sad animal”.

And now, I must return to the kitchen. I have chili and cookies to finish.

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