A study that came out in mid-February should make us feel good. It says we are eating more healthy fruits and vegetables than we used to. But it had bad news too: we’re also eating more unhealthy fast food than before. Irvine, California baby boomer Lorie Eber is a wellness coach who has some advice for every boomer: Lose That Depression-Era Mentality to Stay Healthy.
Does the phrase ,“Waste not, want not,” ring a bell? Did your mother enroll you in the clean plate club? Then, since you’re a baby boomer like me, your parents engrained depression mentality in you at an impressionable young age. It’s not an easy thing to lose.
I bet you still squeeze every last drop out of the toothpaste tube, add water to the shampoo remnants, and risk life and limb to pick up that lost penny in the middle of the street. This is a commendable, frugal, conservative mindset. But, before you start patting yourself on theback for being a steward of the environment and berating the younger generation for being wasteful, a word of warning is in order.
This otherwise admirable trait might be hazardous to your health. If you still behave as if food can never go to waste because the bread lines our parents told us about are coming back any day, I guarantee you’ll join the obesity ranks.
I know that this all sounds alarmist, and that it’s difficult to dislodge the sentimental memory of a time when the family breadwinner was justifiably proud that he was able to put sufficient food on the table. But we now live in a world of superabundance. Face it. The time-honored ritual of delivering milk and eggs to your next door neighbor before leaving for vacation is now obsolete.
Today food is everywhere. And it’s cheap. Advertisers bombard us with come-ons to wolf down their mouth-watering science projects disguised as food. To make matters worse, the portion sizes are obscene. We buy our sugar and fat-laden food from fast-food drive-thrus or in packages with ingredient lists as long as Sav-On Pharmacy register receipts. Warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s Club have conditioned us to buy ginormous bags of Kettle Chips by offering this oversized quantity at a 60% discount. “Betcha can’t eat just one.” And everyone knows you can’t munch on chips without ranch dressing, which conveniently comes in a 64 ounce jug.
Many of us don’t cook much anymore. Instead, we frequent restaurants and unconsciously devour portion sizes meant for two or three people every time we consume an entrée. Or we host a dinner party and cook enough food to feed a Super Bowl team before kickoff, just to make sure no one leaves our table even a slight bit peckish. The result is a refrigerator brimming with leftovers that we feel compelled to finish, lest we let good food go to waste.
We boomers need to change our ways. Here are some new rules to live by:
- Don’t let packaged food with polysyllabic ingredients jump into your shopping cart
- Become friends with your trash can and garbage disposal
- Don’t buy super-sized quantities and tempt overindulgence
- If you have children, make separate meals for yourself.
- Beg your dinner guests to take leftovers with them.