Transition from Southern to Healthy

Stormy Howard By Stormy Howard, 14th Sep 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Recipes>Other

Being raised in the South is not necessarily conducive to healthy eating. There is however a way to go from there to a healthy alternative.

Southern raised

I was raised in the 60's and 70's and pretty much everything that went on the table was fantastic. I am not sure there was such a thing as bad food. I liked it all. No one had to force me to eat anything, they just put gravy on it and that made it good. You could not walk in to our house without Meemaw trying to feed you. It didn't matter if you had just gone to Luby's on the way in to town or not. There was food bring prepared if there were people coming to the house. It was amazing how fast plates of fried chicken and mashed potatoes and gravy and rolls could appear on the table in that house! Everyone was always assumed to be hungry.
Needless to say this kind of gluttony, yes I called it gluttony, comes with a high price. I can safely say that now that I am older and fighting against everything I ever knew to be good and true. I found it a painful lesson but you can actually eat healthy and in moderation. It is not necessary to put two sticks of butter on everything nor is it necessary to fry every single thing you eat. I promise you this, you can still have good food and not lose the flavor. You just have to be dedicated to using more than a few ingredients. There is a lot to be said for using herbs for flavor instead of lard. I find the only place that lard is freely abundant is on my hips. I have also learned that you can gain just as much flavor from well placed herbs as you can from covering something in a sauce or a gravy. Do I have a long way to go? Of course I do, this was not easily learned information. I resisted it strongly. If it was how I was raised how could it be so wrong? Let me tell you how, we didn't KNOW any better. We are a product of our generation. That is what people did, we ate. We watched football and TV and we ate, and ate some more. Then when we were full we ate desserts. Not just one or two mind you but tables full of desserts. I recall so many holidays where we had several cakes and pies and fruit salads and jello salads. Then of course there started the candy, we had several kinds of fudge and bon bons and 7 layer bars and on on and on. You get the picture. It was insane the amount of food that we thought was necessary to get through a Thanksgiving dinner. We didn't just have ham,we had turkey and ham and we had chicken because heaven forbid we not have fried chicken around. Grandpa always had to have his hamburgers and no one could take the chance of not having something someone MIGHT want. Perish the thought that we actually have a meal that fit on the table! Our kitchen had a huge bar that was always filled with food then two banquet tables with the actually dinner on them. No such thing as one kind of bread either. Now you see where the word gluttony comes from. Yes my family invented it.
I am here to tell you that there is a way back from this. When I saw what an actual portion size was I nearly had to be sedated for fear I was going to starve to death! In the long run, I have learned that there are a couple of key factors, the first of course being portions. You actually have to eat a recommended serving, not what it takes to make you feel like you can't move. Secondly you have to do something I swore I would never ever do, and that is drink water. I actually went 7 years of my life without a drop of water. I thought sweet tea WAS drinking water. I was raised in the Pepsi generation. We had soda all the time. I thought nothing about drinking soda all day long. Imagine my shock when in the 80's they started informing us that soda was bad for us and we should really not eat eggs and butter. Blah blah blah. Now they say eat eggs and only real butter is good for you. I wish someone would make up my mind. Now we know that eating eggs is not so bad for you. I have spent many long hours arguing with people over the fact that avocados actually have good fat in them. The point from all these years of knowledge comes down to using good judgement. There is no magic pill that makes you lose all your fat. There is no miracle diet as much as the infomercials want you to think there it. If you are fighting the battle of the bulge it is likely that you will have to work twice as hard to get it off as you did to put it on. Making yourself move more is the hard part. Eating is the easy part. Especially when it is food that you love and tastes good. Have you ever noticed that when someone else makes food it is always better than when you have to cook it? Use information that is out there. Instead of covering broccoli with cheese and butter how about putting a little olive oil and some herbs on it and baking it, top it with a sprinkle of Parmesan and it is divine! Far healthier and in my Southern opinion it really does taste better. I have started cooking all my vegetables this way. I can't remember the last time I actually fried something and trust me here folks, I don't eat food that is not good. It's just not in me. The United States has become very aware of the fact that we are an obese nation. The only way things will change is if we change the way we consume. It is not necessary to cut out all fast food and live on things that taste like dirt and worms. I promise you I never eat a meal that tastes badly and I have overcome the stigma that is Southern Cooking. I am from the South and I am choosing to live a healthier life. If I can do it I have no doubt that you can do it too!


Diet Control, Eating Habits, Food

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author avatar Stormy Howard
An imaginative author who loves the small things in life. I am constantly amazed by the beauty in a blade of grass or a raindrop.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
19th Sep 2013 (#)

Step by every step we should move towards healthy eating and living. Thanks for the humorous yet meaningful take - siva

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