Are You a Cook or a Consumer

A recent trip to the supermarket amazed me at how much food we have to choose from. I counted 50+ different types of milk alone (I stopped counting after 50!). Remember when there was one brand and 3 types: skim, low-fat, and whole? I wondered how all of these types of milks and brands could survive when a recent New York Times article reported that for the younger generation, Generation Zers are buying 20% less milk than the National average.

It got me to thinking, why should something so basic to the Standard American Diet like milk be falling in sales almost as fast as Bud Light? Footnote here. I don’t drink milk, but I do use dairy products. It’s a bone of contention to those who think dairy is an unhealthy option, but dairy products serve a purpose in our diets as a great source of protein and calcium, as well as a way to elevate the dining experience. Could you ever consider French, Italian (or most cuisines) without cheese, cream, or butter? Milk isn’t as sexy as all the new offerings from oat, soy, almond, and cashew, to name a few. Don’t forget flavors, too- vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and more.


Growing up, my Dad used to take me to the dairy farmer when they were milking the cows at either 6 am or 6 pm. Nothing tasted as good as an unpasteurized fresh glass of milk. As the gallon glass container sat in the fridge, the cream would rise to the top and my Mom would make butter from it—another delicious memory. At the same time, I was enjoying whole, unadulterated food; the food industry was developing ways to promote products that tasted great but was a radical shift for our bodies to digest and metabolize especially considering what diet we evolved with back to the beginning of Homo Sapiens.

Shop as a Cook Instead of a Consumer

The food today is not so much a function of nutrition as it is a function of consumerism. Whatever has the most marketing dollars thrown at it sells that most, especially if it’s also associated with a cause. I used to see athletes on the Wheaties box, like Bruce Jenner. Now, the latest cereals are promoting how small their carbon footprint is. But what does that have to do with nutrition? Some might argue that it saves the environment. But when you compare big agriculture using chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and genetically modified plants, destroying thousands of acres of biodiversity in the soil and the planting fields, I would challenge that. Besides, the ingredient list is a mile long on many of these products; several require a biochemistry degree to pronounce them. The key takeaway for me is that they are highly processed. That’s a huge red flag. You shouldn’t need a specialized degree to find food that tastes great and serves your body well.

It comes down to convenience. So few people are willing to shop to cook. Buying a manufacturer’s origin story about a processed food might be entertaining, but it doesn’t make up for all the stories you create with fresh, unprocessed ingredients when you shop for basic foods and bring them home. It makes a difference when you create a delicious dinner for your family, a barbeque with friends, or a celebratory dinner for a birthday.

Invest some time finding freshly picked strawberries that have an intoxicating aroma. Pick a melon based on the aroma. Enjoy the fresh texture of sushi-grade tuna from your local fishmonger. Taste the crisp, sweet texture of a carrot from your local greengrocer. It’s not something a manufacturer can reproduce. That’s only something mother nature can provide, and it’s in the produce section, butcher, or local fish market. And when you infuse meaning into the meal, you make memories of your own. It becomes the fabric of your stories.

This week, take some time to revisit the reasons we choose to cook in the first place and make some memories while taking better care of yourself.

If you want to learn how to lose weight with your mind, not your mouth, or just eat better, schedule some time with me. Here’s the link to all of my offerings.

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