Saturday, April 14, 2012

Will work for food.

I watched a documentary some time ago about making bread. It was about how the art of making bread is all but lost, and how if we could get back to making our own bread - measuring, mixing, kneading, taking in the smell and feel of it - we would be healthier, calmer, stronger, more appreciative of our food.

That's the Reader's Digest version.

The documentary was kinda' cheesy but the idea of it made sense. Making bread takes time. It takes patience. And probably some specific muscles that don't get worked out often enough.

I was thinking of that movie the other day as I made a sandwich for lunch. My bread came from a bag from the grocery store - but it is at least some of the "healthy" stuff with whole wheat and all those grains. "Bird seed bread" my family likes to call it.

So I got a couple slices of bread out, I'm thinking of the "let's make bread and sing Kumbaya" movie, and I grabbed a knife and started carving at the previous night's leftover chicken (rotisserie, purchased at the deli counter). Then I sliced a tomato (can't wait until I can grab one straight from my garden!) and rinsed off a big piece of green leafy lettuce.

That whole process reminded me of another snippet I had tucked away in my brain. It's from one of Dr. Phil McGraw's books, The Ultimate Weight Solution: The 7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom. Someone loaned me the book several years ago, and while I cannot tell you the 7 Keys, I can tell you the one concept I do remember reading about: that if you don't have to work a little bit for your food, it's probably not worth eating.

Making a salad takes some effort. Cooking dinner takes time. Cutting up an apple or slicing some not-too-processed cheese is not as easy as grabbing a box of Wheat Thins (*love*) or unwrapping a granola bar (also *love*). But those things that take a little more thought and effort are often going to be the healthier choices.

Day by day I am trying to make more of those healthier choices. Damn those old habits of grabbing something easy and quick! I have the time, I just need to use it wisely - to plan before I fill my shopping cart, and keep putting healthy options in front of my kids. And myself.

Change - even small changes over time - doesn't always come easy, but sometimes it is necessary.

I find it rather cathartic to stand at my kitchen sink mindfully washing a bunch of grapes, spreading peanut butter on a sliced apple, making a hot breakfast for my kids. I can see how kneading bread a couple times a week would provide the same kind of peace. It's that joy we get from nurturing the people we love - I need to hold on to that feeling and seek it out when what I think I want to seek out is a handful of leftover Easter candy.

It gives a little different meaning to "working for food" doesn't it? But that's exactly what I need to do.

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