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The Four Seeds of Self-Care: Part One #eatrealfood

“Cooking (from scratch) is the single most important thing we could do as a family to improve our health and general well being.” Michael Pollan

Many people celebrated two special holidays this week: Passover and Easter. Though most of us probably did not celebrate the way we normally would with family and friends, many of us still gathered those in our household to eat a traditional meal.

The food I’ve eaten and my relationship with food has changed over the years. I grew up in the ’70s and ’80s, and just over the course of those two decades, so much changed with the way food was processed and the family dynamic around food. Growing up we regularly ate cereal for breakfast and bologna sandwiches or PB & J sandwiches for lunch. I was not a picky eater and would eat everything my mom put in front of me, including the liver that my dad and brothers wouldn’t touch, or the peas in the tuna noodle casserole! Mom cooked dinner six out of seven nights. Friday nights were date nights for my mom and dad. They got dressed up and went out to dinner and the theater. On those nights it was usually pizza or McDonald’s for me and my brothers.

My mom taught me to cook at a very early age. By the time I was ten years old, I would walk home from school and start dinner before my mom got home. Often this entailed peeling potatoes and carrots and putting on a roast, or coating pork chops with “Shake n Bake” and baking them. I developed a love for cooking that I carry with me to this day.

By the time the ’80s rolled around and I was in high school, we still ate home-cooked dinners most nights, but processed foods and take out dinners crept into our diets with more regularity. This is a trend that I continued into young adulthood. My own diet yo-yo’d depending on my weight. I would gain five to ten pounds and decide that I needed to go on a diet to lose weight. As I matured, something intuitively told me that dieting was not the answer. It would be another decade before I would study nutrition and change my relationship with food.