Falling Off The FatCal Cliff

Which is worst to pass onto your grandchildren, fiscal irresponsibility or fat and calorie irresponsibility?
Which would burden them more?


Are we racking up financial debt or fat debt for future generations based on the decisions we make today?
Which is worse?

Yes, money is important and times are tough everywhere. But remember, you can’t take it with you. Sick and rich isn’t rich at all. I’d even say that poor and healthy is a greater wealth. Either way, food and money are inextricably connected. Wealthy people have access to the widest variety of foods. People of less means are spiraling downward, falling more quickly because of fast foods, processed foods, and fake foods that they consume because of the low cost and convenience.

I witnessed this very sad phenomenom when an inner-city High School class visited my lab last year. I first tried to convince them to look at Food as Fuel. "What you put into your body has a direct effect on your brain, your nails, your hair, your attention span", I told them. They shrugged.

Then, I tried to take it a step further and show them how Your Chicken McNuggets Can Be Better Than Fast Food, when I compared the processed chicken disks from the drive-thru with wholesome chicken breast. Which did they eventually choose? The result SHOCKED me. Our children can't even identify what a real chicken is!

This year, you can avoid the fat/cal cliff by beginning some new traditions in your home.
You don’t need to eat like a rabbit to be healthy. The common misconception is that healthy eating means carrot sticks and kale. It’s simply not true.

Healthy eating just means making a few SMALL changes in your overall diet on a daily basis, that when combined over months become the new normal for you and your children.

stickbutterThey should never know about that whole stick of butter.

Whether at Stratford University, within WebCookingClasses.com, or at my own cooking school, students often recall how their Mother, Grandmother, Grandfather or other relative long ago introduced them to cooking. With each item they prepare, they remember the smells and tastes that person added to their consciousness. The impression lasts a lifetime. It’s a powerful gift to give someone.

If you have favorite family recipes from long ago, be thankful. Then, honor your family heritage by updating them with new cooking knowledge and the world of healthy ingredients now available.

Grandma’s entire stick of butter to saute a chicken breast CAN be changed to a tablespoon of olive oil. The blue box of chemicals called Mac and Cheese you’ve been eating, and now serving your children, can be made with real milk and cheese in the new year once you know how. Even Nana’s Apple Pie filling can be thickened with cornstarch, omitting some of the butter that past generations spackled on the lattice.

Replace the sodium-soaked “Steak-ums” with an actual steak from the farmers market this year. You’ll find that the real flavor of wholesome ingredients will have your children eating LESS of something that is actually giving them MORE.

processedfood2Pitch the processed pizza rolls and spend 30 minutes in the kitchen with your children, teach them how to make English muffin pizzas with real tomatoes and whole mozzarella. Don’t let your food heritage be a microwaved egg-puck biscuit for breakfast when it’s incredibly easy to fry an egg and toast whole wheat bread.

You can take the old, make small incremental changes, and start to incorporate them into your weekly menus and snacks. Updating these foods will have an impact on your family for decades, far more than any tax break ever will.

The greatest gift you can give your family is learning to cook their own food.

To start the new year, I challenge you to find an old favorite recipe and update it with new ingredients, new procedures, or new seasonings. Strive to use some of the nutritional information and worldwide items available to us since 1970, and create a new family heirloom recipe. Your children and their children will benefit from never knowing how to use an entire stick of butter to sauté chicken or even what a TV dinner is.

You can worry, fret, and chew your nails over the dollar taxes that you fear are lost while you are inflicting a taxation of much greater consequence to your kids, and their kids…a legacy of unhealthy eating that will make you poor quicker than any taxes will.

About Chef Todd

Chef Todd Mohr is a Certified Culinary Educator who has empowered home cooks all over the world with the reliable, dependable, repeatable METHODS behind cooking that build confidence, generate creativity and enable anyone to cook with the ingredients THEY desire.


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  • Janea
    2:59 PM - 15 January, 2013

    This article is so true. After taking your classes I continued to study the subjects and made my kitchen for dinner my practice kitchen. Now my kids don't want to eat fast food any longer. Also we buy from the farmers market meats and veggies, and we are on a budget. This month we didn't have enough money to buy on the first so we are buying in the middle of the month which has us eating as vegetarians 3 days this week. But since I learned to cook breads and soups we have fresh bread and a hearty soup for our meals. I also learned how easy it is to make deserts with things we already have in our frig and cabinet. Soups using lentils and dried beans and I make my own chicken stock because I save a lot more money buying whole chicken and fabricating them. All this I learned from your classes. I learned how to shop and how to keep my cabinets filled. So at times like this month I'm ok and I can eat healthy still.

    • Chef Todd
      12:39 AM - 16 January, 2013

      Oh My, Janea!
      I wish I could take you on the road with me and we could preach the benefits of cooking because YOU'VE SAID IT PERFECTLY!
      Thank you so much for your kind comment! You are empowering yourself over the high price of take out foods, not only in money but in nutrition as well. And, you are giving a much greater "inheritance" to your children who will respect food and feel empowered to create meals themselves. There's no better gift.

      Congratulations on living a No Recipe Lifestyle. You seem to be enjoying the many benefits.

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