Friday, April 27, 2012

Who Are You Influenced By?

Obviously we all have people in our lives who influence us.  Generally when I'm asked that question (or ones similar: "Who do you admire?", "Who do you aspire to be like?", "Who had a great impact on your life?" etc), however, I've always found it difficult to answer.  It's hard to pinpoint particular people because I've had people influence me in subtle ways, not necessarily in life changing ways.

If you asked me that question over the past couple of weeks though, I would actually have an immediate answer for you, for once!  So, go ahead and ask me!

"Who am I influenced by?  What a great question, and thanks for asking!"

It's actually my grandma.  Grandma Ellie - my mum's mom.  She died in 1979.  I was 2 years old.  I only met her twice - once when Mum took me to the USA to meet her (I was about 16 months old) and once when she came and visited us here in Australia a year or so later.

Top left is Ellen (Ellie) with her brother, Virgil.  The man in the other pictures is her husband, my grandpa, Henry (Hank)
So, how could a woman who died when I was 2 be influencing me now?  Well, if you've been keeping up with my blog, you'll know that I was very excited to receive a package from my aunty a few weeks back, which contained some recipe books from my Grandma Ellie.  I've been devouring them ever since, again, as you can see from my most recent blog posts!

Each of the books/documents has me thinking deeply about how we view food now.

There are so many resources out there devoted to healthier eating... and many varied and differing views of what actually is healthy for us - eat less salt/sugar/fat; eat only organic; don't eat meat; eat meat; avoid preservatives & additives etc, etc, etc.  I've never really been passionate about one particular health scheme.  Yes, I've tried a number of diets, but nothing ever really 'clicked' for me.  I was following a diet, but it didn't really change my way of thinking, so that made it hard to commit and actually change my lifestyle and how I was eating.

But, then along came Grandma Ellie's cookbooks.  I can't believe how passionate I have become about the thoughts that have been flooding my brain.  The bottom line is I want to cook like Grandma Ellie.  I want to get back to the basics of food, back to raw, unprocessed food and start from scratch. Get rid of all the food containing preservatives and additives.  I love that Grandma Ellie has stirred this up in me.  I love that I've become passionate about being more healthy instead of trying to eat healthy because we should.  Now I want to eat healthy!

Okay, so we've established that I want to start eating healthy, but now we need to define what I mean by healthy.  There are so many conflicting bits of information about what's actually healthy for us.  I think that we can all agree that fruit and vegetables are very healthy for us, but that's even disputed about how much we should be eating of each of those.  My vision of healthy is getting back to the basics... purging my kitchen of preservatives and additives.

What I would like to try to start doing, is cooking from scratch as much as possible.  Not buying any pre-packaged items unless I can't duplicate that product, and where I have to buy pre-packaged, find the item that has the least additives and preservatives.

Thanks to Grandma Ellie's cookbooks, that should be a lot easier though.  Back when the books were published, everything was made from scratch... you couldn't go buy something pre-packaged.

I'm not planning on cooking up big meals full of sugar and fat all the time, but my biggest focus is cutting back on/getting rid of the additives and preservatives from our diet.  I'm curious to see what this will look like...

Which is why I'm going to start an experiment!  And I would really love for you to join me!  I'll post again regarding all the specific details etc, but in brief, I'm going to set up a menu plan using Grandma Ellie's cookbooks and cook for a week using her resources.  Please consider doing this experiment with me... I'd really like to get as many people as possible involved as I'm keen to get feedback on other people's thoughts as well.

Stayed tuned in the coming days/week and I'll start giving more information on the experiment.

And on that note, I'll end this little essay and head out to our family day of fun at the Cairns Wildlife Safari Reserve!

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