Monday, September 22, 2008

Market Morning and Pantry Purge

There are markets all around the area in which we live. The most popular one is in Cascais on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. We occasionally take the train down on Saturday mornings and bring the girls. This week, we encouraged Olivia to take her own bag to fill up with the fruit and veggies of her choice. Always looking for an opportunity to do as mom, she grabbed her green sac and hurried us all out the door, truly excited.

The prices are always better than supermarket prices and the flowers are "practically free," as DH likes to say. We took our time walking around the market. I love listening to the locals barter and sort through the produce. Many stop to admire Olivia's blonde hair and Olivia, irritated, pushes their hands away when they reach out to touch her hair and her cheek. Olivia picked out a peach, strawberries and kiwi. She was so proud to be carrying around fruit that she, herself, picked out!

Going to the market is something that is increasingly becoming more important to me. Over the past couple of years, I've been purging my pantry of ingredients that are contributing to very serious health problems in Americans (Type II Diabetes-runs in my family, obesity-runs in my family, increased hyperactivity, heart disease, etc). Ingredients such as, refined sugar (white granulated sugar, regular brown sugar, etc.) high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, juice from concentrate (I no longer buy juice - we just use a juicer to make our own juice - it's quick and easy-though, I'm not quite sure juice from concentrate isn't healthy - my more health care professional readers can weigh in on this one), any and all hydrogenated fats and so on.

I'm appalled to find high fructose corn syrup in yogurt and often as a SECOND ingredient in whole wheat bread (Not quite as much here in Portugal, however)! Your seemingly healthy yogurt and whole grain bread could, in fact, be considered junk food. Since so many Americans are either uninformed or too stubborn to take the time to make sure they aren't ingesting these unhealthy, potentially dangerous, ingredients, they should just be banned altogether (IMHO) (Suggestion for you frugals: you don't have to buy expensive yogurt to get the "healthy" kind - just get plain yogurt and add real maple syrup, raw sugar, agave syrup or honey to sweeten it).

So many people ask me how I do it. Reading labels, cooking from scratch. They proclaim it too hard and time consuming. I look at it this way: I am married. I have two children. I have three people depending on me for generations to come. I want to be there for them. I don't just want to be alive. I want to be healthy. I want to have fun. I think it'd be cool to see my grandchildren graduate from kindergarten, middle school, high school even! I do not want to be a liability. If I can prevent certain diseases by taking care of myself, I think it's my responsibility to do that. I would never want my husband and my children to go through tremendous heartbreak and worry, all the while, feeling an obligation to take care of me years before they really should have had to (some of us get sick despite taking care of ourselves - I'm not talking about that kind of sick). Now, I'm only 31. You think, "That's all years away." Well, I don't know about you, but time isn't moving at a snail's pace here on my end.

Boy do I struggle! I'm always looking for great healthy recipes (send what you have my way), eating well suggestions and information. I'm sure T and her husband, L, over at Seeking Contentment, could walk into my home and have even more great ideas and pantry purging recommendations.

Certain foods do, occasionally, find their way into our home and are consumed. DH and I love to eat out. I battle portion control (this and weight could end up a seperate post eventually). I feel that my body has betrayed me because I can no longer eat the amount food I used to without putting on weight. DH is having a hard time giving up a particularly unhealthy soup and often struggles with a certain nicotine habit. I've given up trying to find Cheerios without the refined white sugar around here (and shipping the organic kind here is just going too far-especially since we'll be moving to where they're more readily available in less than a year). The girls visit friends who parents have different views on the matter and who, therefore, serve food I don't. When that happens, I just roll with it. I try to lead by example and don't freak out when we're out and about with friends.

I would sy we eat healthy most days of the week. Not all. By doing such things as bringing the girls to the market or allowing them to help me make orange juice with our juicer, I hope I'm teaching them that eating well and healthy can be delicious and fun!!

FYI: Refined sugar and HFCS were my most recent purges. After just a couple of months, I've noticed that I have more energy and less sugar and chocolate cravings!


Annie said...

I like your thinking! It sure is crazy when you start reading labels, how much "healthy" food is actually full of junk nutrition. High fructose corn syrup is in everything now, even replacing white sugar because it is cheaper and the corn farmer's are being subsidized by the government. Also, they have figured out what to do with the left over corn by-products: add it to our food so it is sweet, and add it to farm animal's food....I could go on and on!
Sounds like you are making great choices, even being so far away from home!

Katie said...

I need to get more vigilant about HFCS.

Also, now everyone is taking the partially hydrogenated stuff out and putting in Palm Oil or just hydrogenated oils. Are they just as bad?

Natalie said...


My doctor told me to avoid any and all hydrogenated fats. Fully, partially, etc. Even the 0% per servings b/c he said the "trace" amounts add up throughout the day, week, etc. talks about your exact question here:

Since it's high in saturated fat, it looks like sticking w/canola oil, olive oil and walnut oil are best.

Did you read Annie's comment? It's right on!