Since Thanksgiving is approaching I have been thinking about food and it’s place at the dinner table, both in our house and in the homes of friends around the world. I am so inspired each day to read the writing of friends that talk about food and the role it plays in their home. Why they make the food choices they do. How they approach food. How they teach their children about food.
I decided to embark on a writing series that features the work of some of the most introspective writers I know. The women who are actively raising families, working, cooking and on the front lines of food education for the next generation. There is something so innately simplistic and perfect about dinner around the table with children. I wanted to hear from the women who shop, prepare and celebrate food in their homes each day.Our first featured writer is Judith Kester. Judith is a lifestyle blogger that I met as I was just starting to write Farm Tots. I follow her on Instagram and Facebook and each day I am impressed and inspired by the sweet mother and teacher she is. Her interactions with her children and husband are adorable and often cause me to pause my own thinking and reflect on the choices I have made that day. She shares her life and even the most difficult interactions and handles herself in a way that most people don’t or couldn’t. I’m so thankful this gorgeous young mother is writing every day because she keeps it real in a way that lends her readers the ability to also admit when things aren’t perfect. Here is her edition of Food at Home. She chose to write a short editorial on cancer and how it changed her outlook on food.
How Cancer Changed My Outlook on Food
About two years ago my father in law was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer. He has since passed; but one of the biggest lessons we learned during the course of his illness is the importance of food education. We learned the importance of knowing where our food comes from, as well as the health benefits of adopting more of a plant based diet.
Cancer was a loud, forceful, gust of wind; it lifted the dust that had somehow accumulated on our eyes. I will forever consider that time of our lives a time of enlightenment.
Soon after my father in law’s diagnosis we decided to reduce our consumption of meat (especially processed red meat) and increase our consumption of healthy & locally grown food.
“From the bitterness of disease man learns the sweetness of health.” ~Catalan Proverb
Benefits of a plant based diet according to the Mayo Clinic:
*You may be able to save money by going meatless once or twice a week.
*Lower risk of heart disease
*…eating less meat has a protective effect. A National Cancer Institute study of 500,000 people found that those who ate the most red meat daily were 30 percent more likely to die of any cause during a 10-year period than were those who ate the least amount of red meat. Sausage, luncheon meats and other processed meats also increased the risk. Those who ate mostly poultry or fish had a lower risk of death.
We still indulge in burgers, french fries, cakes, pies, etc–but we’re mindful of how much and how often.
Food has always played a huge role in our home. It brings us together in a very special way. It’s sacred. When we break bread together, we commune. We connect and create memories that I know will last a lifetime. But cancer taught us that if we want to stack the odds in our favor–if we want to gather, commune, and connect for fifty or sixty more years, we need to treat our bodies like the temples that they are. Our bodies are strong, but they’re not indestructible. Every capillary, nerve ending, bone, and organ needs to be treated and seen as a precious jewel.
I want these crazy & wonderful hooligans by my side for as long as possible!
Judith Kester is a family lifestyle blogger, brunch enthusiast, wife, and mama bird residing in downtown Sacramento. At judithkester.com she shares snippets of her family’s life; and celebrates style, culture, food, and motherhood.