Let’s talk about ingredients.
Take a look at this image:
That is a mostly eaten container of hummus (brand shall be left nameless). Now, during my diet transformation, my research led me to choose hummus as a regular snack option. Hummus, in its purest form, is about as healthy a snack as you whip up (recipe for another time), and to my knowledge, there is nothing that I put in my hummus that should be pooling at the bottom of this container that way. Don’t get me wrong; whisking that back into the mix with a stub of carrot does not hurt my taste-bud’s feelings at all!
But, What Is It?
One of the things that I have become relatively vigilant on is checking what is actually in my foods.
Any time I can buy organic, I do (just found a bunch of organic carrots for $1.29…pretty much made my day).
“GMO-Free” is another huge one for me.
Outside of those two obvious ones, another thing I consider is, How many people or pieces of equipment / machinery have touched my food?
Ultimately for me, natural is the way to go- or as close to natural as you can possibly get. Much to my wife’s chagrin, I am now the guy who will walk all the way back through the grocery store to grab the one jalapeno that I forgot I needed tonight, leaving her in an aisle holding the jar of pre-sliced jalapenos soaking in god knows what, going “But these are the same thing!”. And, though I’m sure I’m headed down the road of having a whole carrot shoved up my nose as I turn it up at the bag of pre-grated carrots that my recipe actually calls for, it’s just something that matters to me.
Not only can you feel more confidant about what you are actually going to put into your own body, as well as you loved-one’s, but there is a romance to me in taking something and breaking it down into a part of the greater sum.
Before I tumble off of my moral high-ground, let me gently climb back down and explain that I am not above a Friday-night movie and an Italian sub from the local pizza joint. If that shaves 12 hours off my life, so be it. I will also always drool when I see, hear, smell, or even talk about (like right now) a juicy 1/2lb burger with melted cheese, bacon and a soft-fried egg on top. (That was incredibly hard to type!)
Take your time when you shop. Enjoy what you are doing. Think about what you’re doing. Look at the produce for what it is, and imagine what it took to get it to that bin or basket. If you have a garden or grew up with a garden, you know how good those simple, un-doctored ingredients can taste. Then, take on the challenge of seasoning something, rather than taking it out of the container already pickled, sweetened or salted.
Natural may not always seem practical up front, but it is absolutely rewarding, and once you start trying and have a few victories… you’ll be hooked too.