Listen: I understand that the way your food is grown scares you. You have never seen it and you don’t understand it, the same way that I don’t understand how you actually get your groceries home if you live in New York City and you don’t have a car. Do you grocery shop everyday? Take a cab?
Admittedly, we have a lot we could learn from each other. But I’d like to share one thing with you … your food is safe. Really, it is. It is safe, and it is grown by people who actually care about safety because they are feeding their families the same things. The fact that farmers never even dreamed that non-farmers would stress out about how their food is grown should be the first clue. We can’t even understand why anyone would think that we’d grow anything other than safe food!
So, instead of obsessing about your food, your food labels, and food ingredients, the people who made your food, and whatever else you might stress about, think about doing these things instead.*
Maybe the best solution for a fear of food is just to get back to enjoying it again. Cook something you really love or something that feels particularly gluttonous. Chocolate cake anyone? Pasta carbonara? There are some amazing recipes out there just waiting for you to try them out. Get back in touch with what’s fun about food again.
2. Focus on food groups.
If there’s one thing that our families could never spend enough time on, it’s focusing on balanced diets and teaching our kids about the food pyramid. Instead of fearing your food, put energy into serving something green at every meal – no matter if its organic or conventionally grown, since science tells us there is absolutely no difference.
It’s tempting to read every anecdotal story from your mom’s sister’s neighbor, but instead of wasting your time there, read the information farmers are offering to you every single day. If you have concerns about how your food is grown, isn’t the best place for answers with the same people growing it? Illinois Farm Families and Food Dialogues are really great places to start.
4. Enjoy your family – outside.
If you really want your family to be healthy, a walk outside after dinner would be more useful than spending an extra dollar on specialty food. We know from years of scientific study that GMO free and organic food aren’t offering you any additional health benefits – but a family walk outside would certainly benefit your body AND your mind. Reconnect with your family and get moving!
Kids love a colorful plate – and it’s pretty healthy for adults too. Instead of stressing about providing various gluten free options (unless you REALLY have celiac disease), concentrate on making a colorful plate. A meal that includes red peppers, green asparagus, a blackened pork chop and a bright purple grape salad and sure to brighten your family’s faces and improve their health.
As I said above, it really is understandable to fret about something you don’t know and don’t understand. And misinformation is very easy to find on the internet. But I like to follow the wise advise: “Everything in moderation.” That includes stressing about my health and my food. Stress does a number on your body too so let go of those fears, do the best you can, and breathe.
*I am not a nutritionist and I do not claim to be. I am a writer and a farm girl. But I think most of these things are common sense!
ICGA/ICMB Marketing Manager