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what happened to real food?

February 26, 2008
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When you walk through the grocery store, which aisles are the most crowded?  Hands down, #1 is the freezer section. #2 is the junk food aisle. Sadly, for the sake of time and convenience, we are filling our families’ bellies with junk. The next time you pull out that frozen pot pie, take a look at the label. Skip the fat and calorie content for now, and just look at the ingredients. How many of them can you pronounce? How many of them sound more like something you would find in a chemistry lab than in your pantry? 

I have to admit, when I first got married, we ate hamburger helper at least twice a week. My pantry was stocked with ramen noodles and condensed soup. My freezer was full of those little pot pies and corn dogs. Why? Because we were broke and I didn’t know how to cook anything but spaghetti. Since then I’ve learned that most of the time it is actually cheaper to make real food than it is to buy the “cheap” alternatives. And all the pre-packaged foods that you can buy (lasagna, pot pie, beef stew, fettucini alfredo, etc… ) are easy to make. All you need is a recipe and a little bit of planning.

I don’t go out of my way to make low-fat or “healthy” foods. Instead, I try to focus on feeding my family REAL food. We eat beef and pork. I cook with cheese, butter, and cream (on occasion). I believe that God put all these things on the earth for us to eat and enjoy, in moderation. The problem arises when we fill our bodies with things made in a factory, things that barely qualify as food. Do you remember those commercials for Kraft Singles? “Only Kraft Singles are made with 2% real milk.” 2% milk? And that is supposed to be good? What on earth is the other 98%? It’s cheese for Pete’s sake -shouldn’t it be 100% milk?

Okay, enough ranting for one blog. Now to the reason for this post. My interest in buying and cooking “real food” has grown steadily over the last several years. God has really burdened my heart in this area. It is my responsibility as the primary grocery shopper and cook to make sure that I am feeding my family the best food that I can. I want to share some of the recipes that have saved me from buying processed foods. I will post two here today, but I’ll be following up with more.

My husband read an article about a link between processed meats (i.e. deli slices) and a significant increase in various types of cancer. I can’t remember all the details, but it was enough to make me reconsider what we’re putting on our sandwiches. So I found a cheaper and tastier alternative – roasted chicken breast.

The other recipe I’ll share today is a healthier homemade substitute for condensed cream of chicken soup. It is great to use in chicken pot pie or chicken tetrazzini, or any recipe that calls for a can of creamed soup. It only takes about 10 minutes to make. Yes, I know that is more time than it takes to open a can, but the health benefits are worth it. If you plan ahead, you can make the soup substitute in advance and store it in the refrigerator until you need it, up to a week. The recipe approximates one can of soup, undiluted. (Please note: the recipe calls for chicken stock, not chicken broth. I haven’t yet found the time to make my own stock. Instead, I use a good quality packaged stock – Kitchen Basics brand is great. If you use the cheaper chicken broth, which is loaded with sodium and MSG, the health benefits are not as significant. Besides, the amount of stock you use to make this is only pennies compared to the cost of a can of soup.)

I haven’t yet eliminated everything processed from our diets. There are still a few things I can’t live without, like bread and cereal. In a perfect world, my children would eat homemade granola and fresh-from-the-oven bread everyday. Maybe I’ll get there one day, but probably not. For now, though, I’m just going through my grocery list one item at a time, eliminating those convenience foods and replacing them with real food.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 27, 2008 2:52 pm

    I am so glad that you finally posted this. I have felt convicted in this area for some time and we are slowly replacing the processed stuff. It’s tough because you have to reprogram how you (and your family)plan, shop, cook, snack, etc. The results are worth it, though. I’m looking forward to more from you on this subject 🙂

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