By Stephanie Coutant-Matsen
I read an article this past week on how and why bananas are terrible to purchase because of the economic and ecological conditions of the territories they’re grown in, their being grown inside plastic bags laced with pesticides (even some of the Organic ones!), and the list went on. This just added to my already existing frustration with food!!
NOTHING is apparently safe to eat; and with the ever growing use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, not even whole healthy foods straight from the earth are safe enough. So buy Organic! And I do but IS IT really Organic? Or is there just a sticker that says so? Well it must be because the USDA has certified it. Hmmmm. What about packaging? Well there’s enough plastic to go around the earth for a few millennia so I really don’t wish to support that. So buy local. And I do – but nothing grows this far north of the equator for about half the year. And my frustrations continue. It can be exhausting.
I would LOVE to grow my own food (easy to say not doing the work it involves) and know several people that do but it’s not a reality for me right now for a few different reasons. So what do I do? My kids are die hard meat eaters. My husband is a vegetarian that barely eats vegetables but lives on pizza and pasta. I could live on lentils, homemade salads and soups, and the occasional seasonal fruit(s). BUT of course, my family rarely will touch these things (with the exception of fruit) AND I am the primary cook and “food lady” as I’ve named myself. Even our dog knows - and our recently passed pet Guinea Pig knew - this and come (came) only to ME when their bellies are rumbling. It is a BIG responsibility!
And I feel it!
I take this responsibility so very seriously, always have, and care so very much about the nourishment of my family and myself. I do a LOT of work and spend a lot of time shopping for the best in-season produce I can find, visiting Farmers’ markets, supporting and reaping the bounty of local CSAs, researching the latest information available about animal farming and meat and fish processing, pondering how to make the most nutritious foods for my family that they will actually eat while educating them on WHAT they’re eating and being thankful for it, avoiding processed foods where and however possible without having to spend six hours a day in the kitchen.
Only four or five decades ago, (mostly) women did do this; spend most of their day in the kitchen. I’m not FOR or AGAINST this; it’s just not what I want to do. BUT they also had help such as other generations of women and girls with them sharing the tasks and building community and learning from and supporting each other. THIS I WOULD do, but that’s not available to me unfortunately. So being the “Food Lady” can be a lonely place.
This is just ONE of the several reasons why I decided to promote and facilitate my “Whole Self Health” Yoga group this coming May. As a community, we can help each other to identify the what, where, and how to eat that’s best for us and our families, AND our desires. We’ll share ideas and recipes. Maybe we won’t be cooking food together (or maybe we will!), but we’ll definitely be cooking up ideas on how to feel less frustrated with and about how we feed ourselves; as individuals and as a local community. I hope you’ll join me!