Our kids need a food revolution
You know what I love about a kitchen? I adore the fact that it is a place where I can strengthen my bond with my children while teaching them life skills. It's a place where I can nourish their bodies while I am discovering what they love in life.
My kitchen is a place where I can connect with my husband while we do what married couples need to do often, connect and work as a team. Whether we are cooking together or one of us is cooking, and the other is cleaning, we're working together, and that builds a sense of teamwork between us, a partnership.
In my kitchen, I can connect with my friends over a new recipe or while we have a potluck or just enjoy a cup of coffee together. We can celebrate graduations, birthdays, engagements, weddings, new babies, and anniversaries in our kitchens.
Empty kitchen, full couches
Though, sadly the kitchen is often the most desolate place in a home. During my grandmother's era, less than 5% of meals were eaten outside her home whereas in my children's generation the number is well over fifty-percent. Numbers this high are at the detriment of our health.
Unfortunately, the food industry deceives our taste buds into believing that something tastes better than it does. Our taste buds also start to become accustomed to excitotoxins (monosodium glutamate in all it's many forms) in food. However, the junk food that brings the instant gratification to our flavor palate can also disrupt all of our body systems.
The more you eat out, the more you want to eat out. That is because your taste buds trick your brain into an addiction. If you eat out or eat processed foods often, your brain is most likely accustomed to fat, sugar, salt, and chemicals that keep you coming back for more and more.
At the same time your body can't handle these types of food well, which is why most Americans are in the state we are in: with many having high blood pressure, being overweight, obese, diabetic.
Rates of pre-diabetes are astounding, with around half of Americans being pre-diabetic or diagnosed with full blown diabetes. Even the rate of teens diagnosed is on the rise. These numbers don't even include the scores of people who have pre-diabetes and are completely unaware of it.
Even people, like my husband, who are naturally thin, still need to be careful about what they eat. Weight gain is not the only indicator of a problem. Even if the junk food doesn't make you gain weight, it is slowly (and sometimes rapidly) making you sick.
Get the kids in the kitchen
These are all reasons why I encourage the young adults in my life to spend time in their kitchens! While the food industry is to blame for many things such as deceptive advertising, shortcuts, less than truthful labeling, and unhealthy ingredients it is our responsibility as consumers to vote with our dollars. We can change the food industry by carefully choosing what we put in our carts.
One of my goals has always been to help with a much needed Food Revolution. It’s essential that we help future generations learn the life skills they crucially need to lead healthier, happier, more productive lives.
My son loves studying revolutions, and I like to tell him that I am taking part in a revolution every day by going in my kitchen and cooking meals instead of ordering in or popping something frozen in the microwave.
Equipping the next generation to care for themselves is of utmost importance. When I chat with my adult children's friends, it is shocking the sheer number who say they have no idea how to cook. Sadly, they say their parents didn't cook either. So, that's two generations of eating out, consuming processed foods, and deserting the kitchen. Sadly, many young children can't even identify where their food comes from.
When I talk to other women about meals, many of them express concern about the cost of cooking real food. When we compare the cost of eating out to the cost of cooking whole foods at home in my kitchen, I come well under my “take-out” friends.
The real cost of takeout
Somewhere along the way, we have been indoctrinated with the idea that real food is too expensive. Factoring in the cost of health problems from eating junk food and processed fake foods it's even more expensive NOT to prepare your meals. Also, it is harder to go to work when we are tired, overweight and sick all the time!
Another problem is too much screen time! It takes a conscious effort to reduce screen time. That is why I created a short guide to help parents get their kids out from in front of the tv, computer, and smartphones. (sorry kids, but it's for your own good!)
Why not take some of that screen time and spend it doing a simple meal prep? How about taking a cooking class as a family? Even better, join a community garden or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) where you can take part in a work-share. Most of these are suggestions we have done in the past or are currently doing. Spend x number of hours working on the farm for x number of shares of the commodity.
If all that seems too much, consider shopping at Costco where you can buy real whole food in bulk and prepare it from scratch quickly. Doing so is a huge investment in your health and the health of your children.
Joining a cookbook club can also help your health in a few ways. Not only will you get motivated to spend more time in your kitchen, but you'll also eat healthier meals! Even french fries made at home are healthier than french fries from a fast food stop. If you don't have time to meet with a group of people you can join an online cookbook club, like mine! (click the link to read more about the TOM Cookbook Club)
Young adults in the kitchen
I love to help young adults learn how to enjoy spending time in the kitchen. If you are a parent, make sure to invite your children into the kitchen frequently. Encourage them to make some of their own meals as they get old enough to make simple meals.
You don't have to do a big cooking job every single day, but if you are going to eat healthily, you are going to devote more time spent in the kitchen. That's just a simple fact. Here are a few ways I suggest making the kitchen a place where everyone loves to congregate:
- Music – get a Bluetooth speaker and play music that inspires you or let your kids pick the playlist
- Snacks – set out a plate of cut veggies and a bowl of guacamole, or a plate of beautiful berries
- Candles – lighting some nice beeswax candles can create a lovely atmosphere, even better if they are in a salt candle holder
- Beautiful dishes – drinking water out of a goblet just makes me feel elegant in my kitchen, try it with some sparkling water and a slice of your favorite citrus
- seating – if you have room for some bar stools, that always seems to encourage kitchen guests. I enjoy having company in my kitchen while I am preparing a meal. Usually, I'll give my guest a small task like peeling or slicing veggies.
- Colors – if you can't paint your kitchen a funky color at least use colorful, nifty cooking utensils and bright bowls
- Make room for dancing – hanging out in the kitchen with my Mimi was always fun because you never knew when she might start dancing. We all loved that about her. So make room to dance.
If you are a young adult and you would like to know more about the kitchen here are some ways to get a basic knowledge of the kitchen for free:
- Ask an older relative or friend who knows their way around the kitchen. They'll be flattered and you will get to know them better.
- Look for a local cooking class.
- Youtube is full of free cooking videos!
- Grab a basic cookbook that is for beginners.
- Start experimenting and just keep going!
- Join a cookbook club
- Go to potlucks
Want to revolutionize your kitchen? How about doing a healthy kitchen makeover? Maybe your pantry needs a makeover? You might even need to makeover your grocery list! Whatever it takes for you to reclaim your kitchen, go ahead and do it! You will be so glad you did!