With summer on its way, many are yearning for that irresistible flavor that comes with grilling, but before you make your food purchases…I’d like to share a few tidbits about what you’re consuming today. Years ago, many of us were raised among the rolling hills where farms were plentiful, and most likely… chances were you may have known someone who owned one, but that seems to be a rarity today. Farming now is such a huge industry, that most of these animals don’t see daylight, are fed growth hormones and antibiotics, as most of their conditions are unsanitary. There’s no comparison, from the grass fed animal to the factory generated…the meat, cheeses and milk products can’t match the old fashioned way of living. Yes…I say this to be true, as I’ve had the pleasure of actually staying on a farm once, though it seems so long ago. But that’s my point, fresh milk and home cooking on the table every evening was the norm; not to mention healthier people all around. Have you ever looked at old black & white photos of your grandparents, along with the era they lived in? Most of them were thinner, furniture was smaller and the food was healthier. I read an article that said our grandparents consumed as much as 131 lbs. of vegetables a year, while today it’s only 11 lbs. The nutrients in vegetables have also diminished by half or more, due to the depletion of healthy soils. Pesticides and other harmful chemicals continue to deplete our earths’ natural minerals found in healthy soils; hence the depletion of nutrients found in farmers vegetables.

Most foods today are processed, and while families tend to eat out more… it’s only compounding the growing health issues found among our children, as well as adults. Times continue to change; technology became better and along came the microwave. Single parenting increased and promotion of the ‘quick and easy’ meals was on the rise. The ability to make meals faster came with a price; more processing, meaning more additives…while sucking out even more nutrients from our food. I also learned that ‘genetically modified ingredients’ are found in nearly 80% of all processed foods, and there’s nothing of value or healthy about it. Most processed foods contain different types of sugars, such as high fructose corn syrup which depletes your body of its nutrients while packing on additional calories, nor does it fill you up, so you consume more than average. It’s as if you’ve been on a merry-go-round. Foods that have a higher shelf life are just as bad, because some (chemical) preservatives aren’t what you’d like to believe…some may actually have carcinogens in them. This is also said to be true of charcoal used for grilling, but I’m sure it depends on how much flame (smoke) you put to your food. I confess…I love cooking on charcoal, and I believe it’s a lot less harmful than most processed foods you eat.

A lot of people don’t like to hear the word ‘Diet’…as it makes them cringe with anxiety about meals. Past generations were able to eat more and stay thin, but their food was better and not processed; it’s like picking an apple off the neighbors’ trees, wiping it off and putting it in your mouth; without worries of course. I loved those days; the good ole’ days when families got together…siblings, cousins and grandparents, it really was the cornerstone of our culture. Farmers working untouched soiled lands, while animals grazed the pastures…it feels like ancient history. Our food was fueled with nutrients and bursting with flavor; kids were energetic and outdoors was the place to be. While chemicals have touched so much of our land, we can all try harder to bring back organic farming by supporting local farmers everywhere. I know some say it’s costly, but so are those diets many purchase, whether it is a program or food. Eating clean vegetables, fruits and meat (dairy & eggs) from grass fed animals are a great life changer. For those that live in cities, try and find a local grower with a stand off a highway this summer, I see them all the time while traveling; this also includes patronizing your local butchers. If more people would be conscious of labels, including where and how it’s been manufactured, you might change your mind before purchasing foods at the grocers. For me, I won’t purchase farm raised seafood…and in all seriousness, if you saw how this was done, you may not either. Put flavor back in your life; you’ll be amazed at how it changes things…in more ways than one.

Make your week count.