A Blessing and a Curse

I have never enjoyed most processed foods.  It’s just my humble opinion, but the high sodium content isn’t fit for human consumption.  At least as far as this human is concerned.  My children, on the other hand, love the stuff.  Especially an extremely salty cheeseburger macaroni concoction.  The only way I could gag it down was if I guzzled a gallon of water along with it.

So I’m used to looking for alternative foods for when they insist they need this type of garbage food.  But realizing that you have a gluten sensitivity, and being willing to cut it out of your diet, takes finding alternative foods to an entirely new level.

Early on, when days were so busy I’d just want something quick, I’d pick up a plain ground beef patty at Burger King, then make another stop at Wendy’s for a baked potato.  Let me tell you, do that a few times a month and it gets old in a hurry.  The food and waiting in line at two different ‘restaurants.’

So I decided to keep some sour cream in my refrigerator, along with small packages of ground beef in the freezer.  When the kids need fast food, I come home, brown the ground beef, throw in a little bouillon, a little milk and sour cream, and have it over instant potatoes, with a smoothie (for actual nutrition).  I’m pretty sure it takes less time to throw that together than it did to stop at BK and Wendy’s.

But it’s kind of a pain, and I often opt to just not eat at all.   All I can think lately is that it would be great if I could just heat up a frozen dinner, or open a can of something.  Something that tastes good.  And tonight I thought I hit the jackpot.

I’ve been passing on everything that lists ‘modified food starch’ in the ingredient list, because I’d read something awhile ago that made me think it was made from wheat.  But tonight I discovered that there is a law in the USA that requires food manufacturers to list wheat if it’s in the product.

Yes!  After salivating for the ready-made dinners my daughter loves, I was ready to jump for joy.  I could have the chicken and rice casserole she’s been eating lately!  It smells so good.  And I was so excited…and so hungry…that I made a late night dash to the grocery store to get a couple…one to have as soon as I got home, and one to save for the next time they were craving McDonald’s.

The thing about having to make your food from scratch…for almost three months…is that you apparently become very aware of flavors.  I sat down, prepared to inhale this dinner…and had to stop after the fourth bite.

All I could taste were chemicals, or preservatives-maybe both.  It was just awful.  Very strong, kind of bitter.  My nose was in heaven, but my taste buds wanted to cry…it was that nasty.

You read about how bad processed foods are for you, but like most Americans, I pretty much ignored the warnings.  Processed foods might not be as good as my cooking, but in a pinch, they were better than nothing.  And they didn’t taste too bad.

With my newly retrained taste buds, I know I couldn’t have been more wrong.  Now I just have to figure out a way to convince my kids to stop eating these chemical-rich, sorry excuses for food.

I’m also going to have to figure out something I can freeze for when I want a quick meal.  Cause the ground beef over instant potatoes is getting old, too.

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