As I was grocery shopping today, I was super-mindful of all the ingredients in each package and every item ending up in my cart. I grabbed at a package of wheat "flat-outs" which are essentially whole wheat tortilla wraps. As I perused the ingredient list, I was shocked! How on earth can something as simple as a tortilla contain ingredients that I can't even pronounce? Shouldn't it be something like "flour, water, yeast..." or whatever?
I'll admit I don't know much yet. In this food game, I'm a pretty new player. Still learning about what should and should not be making up my menus. However, I think I'm starting to catch on. In the name of preservation and convenience, food manufacturers have sacrificed simplicity for longevity. We want our food to last more than a day or two before molding or souring or turning. So, we get preservatives and long lists of things that are added to enhance color or shape or texture or life.
I'm not complaining. Please please please don't think I'm complaining. I really enjoy that my bread doesn't mold after a few days. I also like popping in the occasional lean cuisine when I'm feeling too lazy to make a sandwich. What I am doing is becoming aware. The price of convenience is perhaps more complex and costly than I realized. Lays are quick. Lunchables are easy. Campbells soup is tasty. However, if I baked my own chips, sliced my own lunch meat, and simmered my own soup, I'm confident that I would KNOW what I was eating was simple and clean, calorie controlled and fat found. It's so much easier to know your food when you are chopping it up yourself.
So, I'm not attacking convenience. I love it! It's my hope, however, that as I keep my eyes peeled and my mind open, I will become ever more aware of what goes into my food for the sake of being easy and quick. Opportunity cost is about trading this for that. I'm ready to trade a little bit of time for control over my food, I think. Then again, I'm not quite ready to go off the deep end yet and trade my lean cuisine yet. Percentages! If I can manage to have 75 percent fresh and simple whole foods on my plate and 25 percent or less prepackaged and "conveniently" prepared goods on my plate, then I will feel like I'm definitely at a good start.