Eating Europe

Oct 08, 2010


In the past few months, I’ve painstakingly removed most processed food from our home and slowly moved my food purchases to the Farmer’s Markets and local butchers. Costco is no longer our grocery store, as I refuse to purchase anything with a shelf life longer than a week.

This is incovienent, true. But as we’ve discussed, good clean whole food is not only dirty, it is work.

Our ancestors lived this truth. Why should we ignore it?

Each time I travel to Europe, I lose weight while eating an abundance of wonderful food.  I’ve recently spent a week eating like a princess. The food, the markets, the coffee, the beer. BY GOD Europe is a lush place for a woman who is a food hippie. The chicken is all range free. The milk is all hormone free. The eggs, the bread, the chocolate. Everything is without excessive sugar or salt or processed this-and-that.

I came home yesterday in a furry to completely change how my family views meals. I’ve prepared home-cooked muffins, eggs, soup, salad. My children are not allowed processed peanut butter already, but I have new resolve to prevent anything but freshly crushed peanuts on their traditional “PB&J” sandwiches. I’m even making my own Jam now.

I have a passion for food that I can not explain. It’s not just food as a source of nourishment, but as a perceived enemy of America’s women and a death sentence to dieters. As a college undergraduate, I studied nutrition like it was a drug. I’m not only informed by reading books such as Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, Food Rules, and The Omnivore’s Dilemma, but I recently began reading The End of Overeating which backs up this thinking with scientific facts.

It only takes three hours to watch Killer at Large: Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat and Food Inc. to change your entire lifestyle. I promise you will never step foot in a traditional American grocery store again.

So why do we allow our food to be processed, modified, faked and packaged?

And how do we rebel against that?

As bloggers we have a special influence. It can be used for good or evil, but we have a voice now. Collectively, we’re able to make changes and see progress in a very new-age and real-world way. If ever you think of not blogging, simply find a cause you have a passion about and rekindle your spirit. It is with that tone that I am posting here now: I will not let America capitalize our food.

I will not participate in such radical food dogma.

I will not eat industrialized food.

I will not participate in practices that threaten my daughter to mature in to puberty at the age of 8.

And I will not be quiet about it.

It’s not only weight gain, the threat of high cholesterol (which I currently have) or type II diabetes (which my father has and I am predisposed for), but the now real concern that my nearly six year old daughter could begin to menstruate in three years. Three years. Neither she nor I are ready for this.

According to TIME magazine’s article on the topic:

“The theory that has the broadest support among scientists holds that early puberty is somehow tied up with a much more familiar phenomenon: weight gain . ... higher levels of insulin appear to stimulate the production of sex hormones from the ovary and the adrenal gland.”
Read more.

The introduction of TV dinners, the microwave, and convenience. We are slowly tracing these “wonderful inventions” to a slew of consequences nobody could predict. Unfortunately, too many Americans are living in denial or ignorance. I will not be one.

Last week I studied my host in Germany as she prepared meals. I went to the markets with her. I asked questions about their methods for growing and providing food. I did the same in Holland and England years before. I’ve started a repertoire of recipes, of habits and expectations. But I still want to travel to Europe and study the culture even further, to learn to cook like the French, to expand my attitudes toward health and wellness. As an exercised and diet crazed country, we have nothing to show for it.

Perhaps it is time to learn from our brothers and sisters living a better lifestyle. Perhaps it’s time to Eat Europe.

Join along with me if you’d like. My goal here? To present a way of living Europe while being in America. Starting now.

**Recommended reading:

omnivours delimma

in defense of food

Food Rules

End of Overeating

teens too soon

PhD In Parenting


Chocolate and Zuchini

Recommended viewing:

Killer at Large

Food Inc


  1. I admire your dedication.  I just wish I had the discipline!!  In the precious few free hours I have in my day, I wish I could say that cooking a healthy meal was on the top of my priorities.  Unfortunately, it takes a back seat to the rest of the demands on my time… both necessary and self-inflicted.  Finding balance in life is such a challenge.

    By Paige on 2010 10 12

  2. Reading this makes me just nod my head furiously, but the moderate in me has a few reservations and stuff like this can be a dangerous path to the fanatical.

    Back in June was when I started being serious about getting more healthy and the journey of getting more educated in general about nutrition. I’ve read a LOT since then and in the end, one of the best books/resources I’ve read really is The End of Overeating, which I think summarizes all the books you’ve listed in a logic-based manner. Also, unlike Pollan, who rails against the food scientists (tho I personally blame government, media, and corporations abusing scientific results and data more), I like that Dr. Kessler really gets to the heart of the matter: the issue is that processed and overdone food is “hyperpalatable.” In short: this crap tastes great. We overeat because chips and pop and chocolate and sugar and fat taste amazing.

    We have to teach ourselves that healthy stuff taste good, too, and that it should be the majority of our meals. And that treats are that again: treats. Stop the snacking culture. Cupcakes should only be for special occasions. I think the breakdown of meal routines and times and culture are a major part of the issue.

    Honestly, processed foods in and of itself, in my possibly controversial opinion, isn’t bad. Eating Skippy peanut butter vs. natural peanut butter ONCE in a while isn’t going to kill you unless you have a peanut allergy, in which case you shouldn’t even have peanut anything, heh. Food science has given us protein powders and multi-vitamins, both processed products that may even be beneficial. Food science in and of itself isn’t evil. Science is awesome.

    Balance. smile

    Additionally, which sorta deals with my points above:

    Also, another fave site of mine:

    By Lea on 2010 10 12

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    By WetVomeeuroke on 2010 10 13

  4. I envy that you’ve actually done this.  It’s an ideal I’ve been too lazy to reach, but you are doing such an amazing thing for your family by eating this way.  Good for you!

    By Rachael on 2010 10 13