We all have a personal Mason Dixon line with food. For some people this means no cocktails before 5:00 or limiting big dessert indulgences for special occasions. For me, finding that line and balance has been a focus of my healing journey with food. How would I decide what was too processed and what was worth buying from the grocery shelves? What do labels like “organic” or “natural” mean to me? How much time in the kitchen is too much?
I just finished an incredible read, Unprocessed, by Megan Kimble. She tackles these issues in a year spent eating as close to nature as possible. Like me, she has struggled with what unprocessed really means. Do we need to go back to a day where families spent hours canning their own vegetables for winter? Which modern conveniences are worth allowing? Her research took her on a similar journey as Michael Pollan in The Omnivore’s Dilemma but with the voice of a younger generation focused equally on the environmental impact of our food choices.
By the end of her journey, Kimble lands in a similar place to where I now sit as well. I love to cook and bake, but I have limits. It is just as important to me to eat healthy, real, whole foods as it is to get ample rest and fresh air. I am more likely to spend time making a week’s worth of school snacks on a Sunday than to spend that time canning tomatoes for a sauce that we will eat only once. As my husband would say, “You have to do what gives you the most bang for your buck.”
I found myself in the grocery store yesterday. I had hoped to make a fresh batch of yogurt this week, but things have turned out to be busier than expected. I looked through the dairy section, and I found a grass-fed, organic, and sugar free (and kosher!) yogurt and decided to pick one up for today’s school lunch. Would a homemade version be better? You bet. But, on this day, I decided that I was still on the right side of the Mason Dixon line with my choice on the check-out line.