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if you can make it you can eat it

A while ago one of my coworkers was surprised to find me ordering tater-tots from the cafeteria to accompany my lunch. "I thought you were a healthy eater!" she told me. While I admit that my svelte figure may encourage the idea, health is in fact not my main priority in choosing what to eat. Leah and I were discussing this very subject this evening over our dinner of grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup, and french fries.

Actually, there are some aspects of healthy eating that I at least think about before I stuff myself. We stay away from processed food, from stuff with artificial preservatives, from high-fructose corn syrup—most of the time. And most importantly, we make most of what we eat from scratch. That, to me, is the way to make sure your diet is mostly good for you. Sure, have pizza (Wednesday dinner and all day yesterday) or fries or even tiramisu; if you have to make it yourself you probably won't have enough to be seriously unhealthy. Not that you can't manage to gorge yourself at a single meal, of course: I'm still recovering from the amount of fries I ate this evening. Maybe three potatoes for two-and-a-half eaters was a bit much? But I'm sure not making fries every night!

And then there are those times I don't even follow the home-made rule. The tomato soup, for example, was from a can and was full of HFCS. But it's a treat, and I can't yet bring myself to shell out the extra money for a hippy brand without unnecessary ingredients (or to learn to make tomato soup myself—it can't be that hard...). Or those tater tots. But not very often.

The bigger benefit of home-made food, though, is the reduction in waste and packaging and fuel and just plain industrial effort it takes to get prepared food to the consumer. Why ship potatoes to a factory and then to a grocery store, when I can just get them raw and do the french frying myself? In the summer I can even get them direct from the farmer—how's that for cutting out the middle man?!

Truth be told, that's what drives most of my food choices. The health aspect can take care of itself. I get some exercise, and I don't eat really a lot of food overall, so I'm not concerned about the amount of fat or carbs in one particular meal. I also never go to the doctor so I have no idea, say, what my blood pressure might be. So don't take my advice on any of this, just know that if I seem to be eating healthy it's just a coincidence.


Although I currently don't get much in the way of exercise, I am also subscribing to the "if you can make it you can eat it" philosophy. And it's a philosophy, not really a rule book. So, for example, we still have the occasional dumplings in there, imported from Thailand. I figure, whatever I put in my food— butter, oil, red meat— it's still food.

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