The cure for what ails you isn’t just found with your doctor. You can also find it in your kitchen.
Here, we can gather to rebuild our communities and connection, strengthen bonds with family and friends, teach life-giving skills to our children, and enrich and nourish our bodies and our souls.
Today our kitchens (and our taste buds) have been hijacked by the food industry. In 1900, we only ate two percent of our meals outside of the home. A century later, that number has risen to over 50 percent.
The food-like substances proffered by the industrial food system trick our taste buds into momentary pleasure. But our biology rejects the junk forced on our genes and on our hormonal and biochemical pathways.
Your tongue can be fooled and your brain can become addicted to the slick combinations of fat, sugar, and salt pumped into factory-made foods, but your biochemistry cannot handle these foods, and the result is the disaster we have in America today.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 69 percent of American adults are overweight and 35 percent are obese. Far from simply becoming aesthetically unappealing, studies show being obese increases our risk for numerous conditions, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer.
It can also be deadly. About 3.4 million adults die each year from being overweight or obese, and type 2 diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death among Americans.
Our children are feeling these effects, too. In less than a decade, the rate of pre-diabetes or diabetes in teenagers has risen from 9 percent to 23 percent. In other words, almost one in four kids has pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.
I could go on, but you get the very dismal point. We must take back our kitchens and our homes.
Transforming the food industry seems like a gigantic undertaking, but it is in fact an easy fix. The power lies in our shopping carts, our refrigerators and our cupboards—and on our dining room tables. It is the hundreds of small choices you make every day, choices that will topple the monolithic food industry.
We need a revolution. Cooking real food is a revolutionary act. We have lost the means to care for ourselves. We currently raise the second generation of Americans who don’t know how to cook. The average child in America doesn’t know how to identify even the most basic vegetables and fruit; our kids don’t know where their food comes from or even that it grows on a farm. Cooking means microwaving. Food “grows” in boxes, plastic bags and cans. Reading labels is supremely unhelpful in identifying the source of most foods — the ingredients are mostly factory-made science projects with a remote and unrecognizable lineage to real food.
We are brainwashed into thinking that cooking real food costs too much, is too hard and takes too long. These seemingly inexpensive convenience foods aren’t so inexpensive or convenient when we become dependent on hundreds of dollars of medication each month, when we can’t work because we are sick and fat and sluggish, or when we feel so bad we can’t enjoy life anymore.
The average American spends eight hours a day in front of a screen (mostly television) and spends more time watching cooking shows than actually cooking.
Convenience is killing us.
The truth is, real food can be inexpensive. Choosing simple ingredients, cooking from scratch and getting produce from community supported agriculture associations (CSAs), community gardens, or co-ops all build health and community and save money. Food is the best investment in your health.
We need radical change to transform food. Each of us can play a part, and that change begins in the kitchen. Once you have taken back your kitchen, then you can start something really revolutionary.