Then I went on a two week family trip to the southern United States.
It was eye opening. Although I coach my clients week after week about how to travel, and I share ideas and resources and tips for doing it, there's nothing likegetting out there.
This was not Manhattan, or L.A., where there are dozens of organic restaurants and juice bars. This was not a spa in New Mexico, or a European city, where foods are naturally organic and whole. This was American theme park cuisine, and American resort cuisine, home of iceberg lettuce wedges with gobs of blue cheese dressing.
Yes, like in Modern Family, and yes, my son wanted to try it.
Even though we had a kitchen in our room, and even though I brought packets of VegaOne smoothie mix, it was tough going. I went shopping for groceries so that my husband could have organic eggs, and I found organic mixed greens at Publix, but I wasn't prepared to eat every meal in the room, and neither were my guys.
We tried to visit restaurants with menus that appeared to have clean food, but somehow the green beans were swimming in oil, and the mashed cauliflower
was mostly butter and potatoes. At one hotel, the only late night dining available was pizza, as our exhausted family ordered in dinner.
I didn't see the word "organic" on a menu for two weeks, and everywhere I looked, at each restaurant we visited, there were oversized portions of gluten and dairy, without any vegetables. I gave up battling my son on factory farmed meats and we caved to his vacation diet of cheese-on-everything,
I got discouraged.
I worked hard before hand, bringing organic snacks in my suitcase; raw bars, nuts, and coconut water, and for one week, I cooked breakfast and lunch, which was not really the way I wanted to vacation, by the way. At some point, we had to get real.
We couldn't run back to the hotel at mid-day. There wasn't a stove in our room, and we wanted to cram in as much fun as possible. Normal splurges, like movie snacks, gave way to daily splurges for my family.
On the way home, my husband turned to me and said, 'I feel sick from the food we've been eating.'
My son said, 'Mama, will you make me a smoothie when we get home?'
I felt like I had lead in my veins, or as my friend the yogi put it, sticky blood.
What struck me was this; this is not a financial issue; the people we saw were paying many hundreds of dollars per family to enter this American theme park. (Watch for my blog this week when I do talk about finances and food in America.)
This is an education issue.
People aren't asking for organic greens or hormone free meats for their kids. They're not insisting that the average nice restaurant carry organic vegetables, or that they prepare their food in healthy oil. They're not demanding healthier snacks, or natural sugars at places that cater to children, and Americans are still buying super-size sodas and trans fat popcorn to watch Oz, the Great and Powerful.
They're not asking for better food, organic food, because they don't want to believe the their food can be that bad. They want to eat what's there, available and accessible, and they don't want to have to search it out, or bring it with them.
Why should they?
They trust that their government agencies protect them, and they believe that somehow, in America, the food must be good for you.
They choose not to believe the articles they read, and they think large scale farming and GMOs provide cheap food for all. They don't realize the long term health costs of heavy spraying and they've gotten used to seeing people carrying an extra 40 + pounds.
This is not an appearance issue, these are issues that do and will affect all of us in the future.
- Share this with someone you care about, right now, and allow me to do my thing, each week.
- Sign up for my Facebook page, where I share timely food issues and ask you occasionally to reach out to your congressman. Ask your friends to join me there as well.
- Make a Green smoothie for your Aunt Mary, or for the kids in your life. (See my recipe below!)