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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Taking Responsibility

This was a very hard lesson for me, it's not that I ever liked fast food, but it is very convenient.  I understand that Moms and Dads who work long hours see the drive thru as an oasis in the desert of time management.  I have been there myself more times than I like to admit.  When my normally thin and active child became an overweight and sullen preteen I found myself reevaluating my competency as a parent.  How could I let this happen?  I made a commitment to limit the amount of fast food we ate to the weekends and to cook during the week, even if it meant we had cold sandwiches.  My husband did not like that plan at all.  He preferred to only eat out and many times during our marriage he preferred Taco Bell to the meal I had prepared at home.

My husband had a very interesting childhood and one that was very different than mine.  I grew up appreciating fresh vegetables and home cooked meals.  I had an interest in cooking at a very young age, I think it was because there were things I wanted to eat, so if my mother couldn't make them, than I learned myself.  I poured over the giant Betty Crocker cookbook and religiously watched Julia Child and The Frugal Gourmet, long before there was a Rachel Ray or a Paula Dean.  I connected with the dishes being presented and with the culture surrounding the food.  My family firmly believed that I would grow up and go to culinary school.  I was going to be a chef or so they thought.  Dreams change and you find yourself married with a baby and a mortgage and I never looked back.  I believed I could satisfy my love of food by cooking for my own family.  I was very wrong indeed.

As I mentioned before my husband had a very different experience growing up.  Food was not a celebration in his house, it was just a necessity.  His parents worked hard at their own company and so meal time was rushed and in those days quick ingredients were bland and tasteless.  He loves to recount the story of he and his brother taking great pleasure in burning the empty box of little man potatoes and the cans of ranch style beans on the burn pile where they disposed of their trash once a week.   They almost never had fresh ingredients and the boys grew up dreading mealtime.  As a result of this my husband believed that what he thought of as vegetables, those little man potatoes and ranch style beans, were horrible, and as an adult vowed never to eat them again.  Another issue I think that shaped my husbands philosophy on food was that as children they were made to eat food they did not like.  It was not an option and was punishable by spanking.  As a result he vowed not to ever eat anything he didn't want, and for years he refused to try anything new.

I of course believed that I could change his opinion.  I would cook wonderful meals and he would love them and sing my praises like everyone else.  WRONG AGAIN!  The week after we returned from our honeymoon I made the most beautiful minestrone with fresh tomatoes, kidney beans, shredded carrots and various other fresh veggies.  I spooned it up in one of my prettiest bowls and presented it to my new husband.  I was very proud, but my pride soon turned to anger when he referred to it as vomit stew, thus began what I like to refer to as the "battle of the bulge", which would rage on for seventeen years.  Things are very different now, but I will talk more about that later.

Because of my husbands preference for eating out it just became easier to agree in order to keep the peace.  I did what everyone else does, I justified and rationalized my choices.  I fed my family what amounts to poison, and the truth is, I only have myself to blame.  My family, as well as, myself have suffered as a result of these poor choices. The  good news is, it is never to late to undo the damage caused by poor diet and lifestyle choices.  Just ask my doctor, who no longer has to prescribe high blood pressure medicine to me.  Together I hope that we can continue the evolution to healthy bodies and healthy minds and if just one person who reads this blog and relates to our situation can be helped, than I will consider it a great success!

Check out this article on the dangers of fast food, it is very informative.

my husband Rob in the green shirt, me in the white dress

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