On Twitter, I follow @jambutter. He’s a knowledgeable guy who writes an interesting blog called Every Kitchen Table where he talks about the ProFood movement and how changing the way we eat can be beneficial for our health as a nation, and how our economy, local food and local entrepreneurship are (or should be) intricately interwoven. Rob often asks on Twitter why people don’t eat at home more? What is it that stops them from cooking?
I’ve pondered the question quite a bit and, admittedly, can dissect some of my own habits to find the answers–for our household, anyway. Some of the most common reasons given have to do with the fact that it is time consuming, ingredients are hard to come by, people just don’t know how to prepare their own food.
I do know how to cook and really quite enjoy it, so that is not the reason I ate pizza for dinner. Ingredients are not that hard to get for me, although in order to get the best fresh stuff takes some planning because I have to seek out farmers’ markets that aren’t always open and aren’t on my normal route to and from work.
There are plenty of meals that can be prepared quickly, like stir fry, but no matter what anyone says, the entire process of planning, shopping, chopping, spicing, and cooking does take up much more time than driving thru and consuming. Not to say that the time is not well spent – it is, but the fact is it still takes time.
One of the biggest reasons people have a hard time eating at home consistently is the topic of this blog: it is difficult to motivate yourself to change habits. Add to that our society’s collective addiction to sugar and you have the answer to why people don’t eat at home more.
Most thoughtful people know the benefits of eating well, but changing eating habits is tough, for a host of reasons. I was a member of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm last summer, and it was awesome. The food was unbelievably fresh and delicious, but I still ate burgers, pizza and potato chips. In fact, I eat junk food almost everyday because when I get home from work, I’m hungry enough to eat a shoe, so I grab whatever is handy. Sometimes, I’ve been to the grocery store and so have almonds or string cheese or something nutritious. But just as often, it’s a handful of chips or even a Little Debbie.
Other people maybe have the same struggle at lunch or at 3:00 every afternoon. No matter when we are tempted to eat garbage, most of us do at least part of the time. It’s easy. And bad. But no matter what anyone tries to tell you, changing the way you eat is harder than changing some other habits. It involves also changing your shopping habits, your morning and evening routines and sometimes even your social life.
I am working on building good eating habits, and have been for several years. The habit of writing everyday is much easier to maintain than the habit of cooking everyday. Maybe because writing doesn’t involve dish washing?