Cooking In The Wilderness Snapped Us Out Of Our Fast Food Trance
Jeff and I took a camping/hiking trip over the weekend and while we ate well, we had to take a more rustic approach to cooking it in the wilderness. There is a place Jeff and I have out in the countryside of South Central Missouri that we are making DIY improvements upon. So we took advantage of walking the hills with our loads of supplies heaped on our backs and being dragged behind us to our site. It was great exercise and we (who are not spring chickens) took to some great huffing and puffing.
During our trip, which we already anticipated getting good exercise, we decided to try a more Paleo style diet to jump-start our plan of trimming down a bit before our life insurance renewal date (with physical exam in a couple of months). It’s a lot cheaper if you are skinny (Um…I’ve got some work to do), a non-smoker (woo hoo!) and have good vitals (I’m in good shape there). So we’ll be tackling both land improvements and personal fitness improvements for the next couple of months so we can hopefully snag the best rates.
After day one and an honest day’s work, we decided we’d better eat because it was getting dark. Being so tired we didn’t fuss with any gear except a knife and the cooler…it turned out that a chunk of rib-eye skewered on a sturdy but green sassafras twig over a pear tree wood fire had a unique and wonderful taste. We roasted onions and and corn on a grill propped on rocks over over the fire as well. The cave men didn’t have it so bad! This food was fun to cook this way, very filling and very tasty.
Bacon and hard boiled eggs were our breakfast Saturday morning, cooked on the camp stove in a small skillet then crumbled and cubed up over the pre-cut and washed romaine we had taken along in the ice chest (I need my greens). We both found that this diet was invigorating and we didn’t feel hungry even after doing tons of hard work clearing saplings and brush from our path to the creek.
There was something else that we suspected was keeping our minds off of food…. the peace and quiet of being far from civilization and deep in a natural woodland setting was definitely food for the spirit. But here also, there were no billboards, commercials, signs on businesses, or junk mail coupons pounding us in the head to buy this extra-super-cheesy-deluxe-double burger, pizza, or chicken sandwich with bacon, gobs of creamy sauce and extra large fries and soda.
It surprised us both as we sat by the campfire, how much these things really do rent space in our brains on a daily basis living in suburbia. There was this ethereal feeling each night of profound peace under that brilliantly starry sky instead of the usual TV ad bombardment… no gooey strings of melty cheese streaming from the slice of pizza as it’s pulled away, and none of the commercial actresses were having a near sexual encounter with a giant hamburger while we’re trying to watch the news… We took a moment to ponder and recognize that we are being brainwashed into thinking we need heavy over sweetened, super sized, and over processed food. It’s been the background noise for most of our lives. It’s ironic how these commercials left us feeling a void…a hunger, and being in the countryside, away from it filled us with peace and tranquility.
So when we got back home, all I could think of is food again. It didn’t take long for the food ads to jump out at every stop either. We’re resolute about eating to reduce, and with the epiphany we had in the woods, it has brought the aim of the ads (to hopefully make you feel empty and hungry) to our consciousness. The more I think about the ads and their purpose the more it drives me to look away. Very few fast food places serve food that will make you leaner and healthier. One place made oatmeal into a sugary pile of goo. Another place took grilled chicken and threw it into a “bowl” with cheese, corn, and biscuits sopping with grease. What is supposed to be an Angus beef sandwich with 94% lean beef turns out to have 600 calories and thirty something grams of fat. Once you get over a thousand milligrams of sodium, who cares what will happen next, right? How is it that foods that have good diet potential, end up being loaded with crap once they are served in a fast food restaurant? Do fiends and goblins haunt these buildings, go out at night and inject the food with all the bad stuff in the world, then disappear into the woodwork during the business hours? What, WHAT?? What’s going on? Why are they compelled to make good food bad for you? I have a feeling that when we answer that question, things will really change on our planet.