Have you ever sat at a family event and was able to guess who belonged to which side of the family based on size and shape? As the saying goes, “you are what you eat.” I believe the saying would be better described as, “you are what you eat from the family pot.”
So much of what we eat is culturally dictated by our family traditions. We are taught from childhood what foods to eat, how to prepare it, and how often to eat. At family gatherings our eating habits become truly reinforced. We hear of grandma’s secret mashed potato recipe, grandpa’s renowned tomato sauce, and Auntie’s infamous mac & cheese spread.
We mindlessly adopt eating patterns, culturally ingrained in our psyche, and we develop a liking for what have been the norm all our lives. These cultural dishes become a hard habit to break, especially when they are not of the healthier kind.
With the high rise in teenage diabetes, obesity, and overall heart diseases in America, a closer look should be given to the way we are taught to select and prepare our foods. But even now as we progress in a high tech era, so much of the commercial side of eating is introduced into our homes. If you were to ask teenagers what their favorite foods are, you can bet they are not fruits, veggies, and whole grains. The younger generation has become fast food junkies.
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death and a major cause of heart disease and stroke in the US. Ages 20 and below are significantly represented in the figures, which is a troubling thought.
They say that imitation is the best form of flattery. If imitation takes the form of irresponsible family eating habits and open embrace of greasy fast foods, we have become delirious as a society. Have we dropped-the-ball on our family obligations?
Ethnicities such as East Indians and Asians basic cooking involve herbs, spices, veggies, and grains. When these ethnic groups follow closely to their traditions they actually achieve higher states of wellness. They supersede other ethnicities whose food traditions stray from basic wholesome cooking.
So, are you a chip off the old block? If yes and your food selection falls more into the fried, devitalized food groups, it’s time to change old habits and make anew what is healthy for you and your family.
“A nation’s culture lies in the hearts and in the soul of its people” Mohandas Gandhi