Many carnivorous animals eat their prey while it is still moving — heart beating and all — as seen on nature channels when lions overtake zebras, and cheetahs feast on gazelles. Other prey eat their victims shortly after death. Vultures may be the rare exceptions that eat animals that have been dead for several days. Humans also engage in this practice with both animals and insects, and most of us have eaten live plants straight from the tree or bush. However, whether it is vegetables or meat, one thing is certain, nearly all animals eat their food either while it is still alive or shortly after its life has ended.
This thought provides me with pause regarding the modern diet, but really makes me think about one thing — grocery stores. These factories of convenience have removed the process of growing or hunting our own food and lately have even begun preparing the food for us. While I love my grocery store as much as the next person, the deviation from the natural course of nature becomes quite clear when I walk down its sterile aisles with fluorescent lights humming overhead. The confusion of healthy food intermixed with temptation makes it a difficult task for even the most disciplined person to choose the right foods.
The grocery store can be a daunting place full of foods strategically placed to seduce us. If we have the ability to avoid these foods, we can safely return to our own kitchen, which should be our safe haven.
But what happens when our own kitchen starts to resemble that of the grocery store, with similar unhealthy temptresses placed throughout, pulling us from our goal of a healthy diet?
We have been told many famous grocery store adages for years:
“Never go to the grocery store hungry.”
“Avoid the center aisles.”
“Avoid any foods your grandfather would not recognize.”
“Avoid anything in a box.”
These are all good mottos, and it becomes quite clear that healthy foods are those that are not stored for excessively long periods of time (excluding refrigerating or freezing foods, which keeps them closer to being alive…). Foods in the center aisles also happen to be the foods kept in boxes or packages. In fact, an overhead view of the grocery store makes it quite clear why we should avoid the middle.
However, I think we should add a couple more:
“Avoid most foods that can be stored for an exceptionally long time.”
“Avoid foods that turn your home kitchen into a sanctuary for the foods that you can barely resist at the grocery store.”
“Return to your roots by buying and eating the foods that were once alive — and alive not too long ago.”
While it is clearly impossible to avoid all foods that are not immediately fresh, our refrigerator and freezer undoubtedly work as gateways to come as close as possible within our home, within reason. The pantry merely serves as a way to recreate the parts of the grocery store that our grandparents have been telling us to avoid for decades. While it is somewhat easy to avoid this area of the grocery store, it is nearly impossible when it is in your own home, where you pass it multiple times daily.
Perhaps your kitchen is starting to resemble the center aisles of the grocery store. Maybe it is time to focus on the fridge and clean out the closet.
Above is a picture of my refrigerator, and below is my pantry. Closet foods were my kryptonite, so I removed them altogether, leaving only my supplies to cook real food from my refrigerator.
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