I just watched an episode of Our America with Lisa Ling, on the topic of obesity in the US. What I saw was shocking. The shocking part wasn’t that there is an obesity epidemic in the US (and in Canada too), or that so many of today’s children are obese, or even that they may be the first generation that has a shorter lifespan than their parents. I knew all those facts.
No, the shocking part to me was how little so many people seem to know about nutrition and healthy food choices. Many of the people profiled in the episode were not simply choosing to eat unhealthy, non-nutritious foods, but seemed to have no concept about what is a healthy food choice. One woman had never entered the fresh fruit and vegetable section of her grocery store except at times to buy cabbage, which she usually deep fries. No fresh fruit or vegetables in her family’s diet at all! None!
I never imagined that some people might quite simply have no base knowledge about food nutrition. About how good food nourishes your body, not just your soul.
Good nutrition is something that is very important to me. I strive to eat good, wholesome foods and to feed that to my family. It’s not that we never eat junk food, but rather that I strive for us to have balance in our diet. I read nutrition labels on food while grocery shopping. I pay particular attention to the amount of saturated fat, sodium and sugar in food, trying to keep our intake of those things low, while striving to increase how much fibre and vitamins and minerals we consume. I find myself baking more and more often, modifying recipes to increase the amount of whole grains in them and decrease the amount of saturated fat and refined sugar. I bake because Greg has a sweet tooth, and I prefer to provide him with homemade items that are healthier than the store bought options he would eat instead. I want to keep him healthy so that he can be alive and well for a long time.
I never realized how lucky I am to be aware of the importance of nutrition and to be knowledgeable about it. I guess that I thought everyone knows about food and nutrition. But today I discovered that is not true. I am grateful that somewhere along the way (I’m not even sure where, because I have known about this for so long) I learnt the principles of good nutrition. I strive to learn more, so that we can live a healthier lifestyle. And I am so grateful to have discovered how good real food, made with real ingredients, actually tastes.