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How Eating at Home Can Save Your Life

The slow insidious displacement of home cooked and communally shared family meals by the industrial food system has fattened our nation and weakened our family ties. In 1900, 2 percent of meals were eaten outside the home. In 2010, 50 percent were eaten away from home and one in five breakfasts is from McDonald's. Most family meals happen about three times a week, last less than 20 minutes and are spent watching television or texting while each family member eats a different microwaved "food." More meals are eaten in the minivan than the kitchen.

Research shows that children who have regular meals with their parents do better in every way, from better grades, to healthier relationships, to staying out of trouble. They are 42 percent less likely to drink, 50 percent less likely to smoke and 66 percent less like to smoke marijuana. Regular family dinners protect girls from bulimia, anorexia, and diet pills. Family dinners also reduce the incidence of childhood obesity. In a study on household routines and obesity in U.S. preschool-aged children, it was shown that kids as young as four have a lower risk of obesity if they eat regular family dinners, have enough sleep, and don't watch TV on weekdays.

We complain of not having enough time to cook, but Americans spend more time watching cooking on the Food Network than actually preparing their own meals. In his series, "Food Revolution," Jamie Oliver showed us how we have raised a generation of Americans who can't recognize a single vegetable or fruit, and don't know how to cook.

The family dinner has been hijacked by the food industry. The transformations of the American home and meal outlined above did not happen by accident. Broccoli, peaches, almonds, kidney beans and other whole foods don't need a food ingredient label or bar code, but for some reason these foods -- the foods we co-evolved with over millennia -- had to be "improved" by Food Science. As a result, the processed-food industry and industrial agriculture has changed our diet, decade by decade, not by accident but by intention.

That we need nutritionists and doctors to teach us how to eat is a sad reflection of the state of society. These are things our grandparents knew without thinking twice about them. What foods to eat, how to prepare them, and an understanding of why you should share them in family and community have been embedded in cultural traditions since the dawn of human society.

A Peek Into Our Relationship...

A few weeks ago I had a conversation with my lovely husband about how I evaluated men when I was single.  I had been reading some relationship blogs for fun.  One of them talked about how each person should vet the person they are dating and determine if they are a suitable person to marry.  At first I did not think much about this because I did not really have a hardcore checklist as such.  The older I got I came to the conclusion that 'I will know him when I meet him'.  That is pretty much how I ended up dating and marrying my husband on December 18, 2009.

One day a Facebook friend of ours posted a relationship question similar to this:  What thing(s) would you consider a show-stopper when considering someone to marry?  Again I did not think much about it since I did not have a list as such.  However my husband read the question and asked it to me.  It was funny but at that time I had an answer.  I told him that if a guy came to me talking about getting married and started a discussion about the role of the husband and the role of the wife I would have run for the hills.  He laughed at that one.

I realize that every person is different and approaches romance and marriage differently.  I just felt that the idea of the husband playing a role and the wife playing a role was way too complicated to my liking, probably from the many sermons I heard in church about the matter over decades.  It just seemed like the list was getting longer by the day and would become something impossible to live by with any peace.  Long before we started dating I concluded that my 'role' would be to love my husband the best I know how.  How that would be defined in my mind was depending on who I married.  It was apparent early in our dating relationship that my husband felt the same way.  This has continued on up until this very moment.

I must state for the record that I married late in life (only marriage).  I did not date after graduating from grad school because somehow I knew I would be older when I married.  I had a very long time to think and reflect about how I would approach dating and marriage.  Of course I had a lot of time to observe other couples and see how their approaches would work for me.  They were way too rigid for my liking and from what I saw many were not all that happy.  I enjoyed my decades as a single gal and I was not going to voluntarily go to prison LOL.  I can truly say that being married to my lovely husband has enhanced my life in ways I could never have imagined.  It is one of the best decisions I have made.  I believe he would say the same.

What do you think about the traditional roles as have been defined over time for husbands and wives?  Are they workable?  Is this really dependent on each couple as I believe?  Do the roles identify who the person really is in a relationship or are the roles purely functional?

Let's discuss this.