Make It Fresh

Many, many years ago (like maybe 30+) I cooked fresh.  Fresh garden ingredients, no prepackaged mixes, baking our own bread, biscuits from scratch.  Looking back I think we were a lot healthier.  Then life got in the way.

With 2 kids active in all sorts of activities it became a matter of convenience.  This “matter of convenience” grew and grew until hubby and I became fast food junkies.  Recently we reviewed a beautiful scrapbook that a friend put together.  The book covers over 30 years of our friendship.  As we were looking through I couldn’t help but notice how much we had changed over the years.  Some of those changes weren’t so positive.  This was evident in the fact that at one point we became really “porkers”. 

After the kids left home are obsession with fast food got even worse and we became food junkies.  Our weekend routine was to go to Sam’s Club and buy prepared or prepackaged foods take them home and then head off for fast food.  At this point in time we were probably eating “gofers” 3 to 4 times a week.  Gofers in this context are not the little creatures that burrow underground.  Gofers were Taco Bell, Whataburger, Sonic, Taco Cabana to mention a few. Sonic’s footlong chili cheese dog with onion rings or tater tots.  Delicious!!!

Not only did this practice go on at night but also during the day.  As a working woman I would dash off to Sonic for my favorite, grab a burger at Burger King and not just a burger but an up-sized order of fries.  The bad habits carried over to my husband.  One of his favorite breakfasts during this time were 2 pop-tarts.  Anyone looked at the nutritional value of pop-tarts lately?

Somewhere around 2000 or 2001 my cholesterol peaked at around 300.  We were planning our first cruise and a size 16 didn’t always fit.  I became motivated to make some changes.  Over a period of 3 years I lost about 75 pounds.  Began cooking again and started on my recovery as a fast Food Junkie.  Now some 11 years later I continue to work on my recovery.

The past 11 years have shown me that I should have taken better care of myself when younger or that I was doomed with bad genes.  Probably a combination of both.  I am on thyroid medication and have learned that even with diet and exercise that my cholesterol will remain high.  Hubby has been better able to control his diabetes and his A1C is testing normal.  What does all this have to do with making it fresh?

I find that through my self imposed gluten free diet that I feel much better.  Recently blood work shows my cholesterol, while still high, is stable.  The Vitamin D levels are normal and I no longer am on a mega dose of Vitamin D.  My memory is better.  I have more energy and my hairdresser commented that I hadn’t had any eruptions on my scalp in quite awhile. 

If you are on a gluten free diet you know the challenges. Not just breads, crackers and cakes but such simple items as canned corn can contain gluten.  I am back to baking my own bread products.  Eating a variety of whole grains that don’t contain gluten.  Making my own mixes where I control the sodium, fat and gluten.  Buying organic when at all possible and let us not forget exercising.  Yes, I work out on the treadmill once a day and then walk a mile or so in the evenings.  

The other day I was making salsa and reflecting on what I have just written.  My salsa tastes so much fresher and has more flavor than the bottled stuff on the grocery store shelf and with the help of my Vita-Mix can be made in a matter of seconds.  Will the recipe work in a blender?  I don’t see why it wouldn’t.

PaulaG’s Salsa
(With help from Vita-Mix)

1/4 cup cilantro, washed and well dried
1/2 medium onion, cut in chunks
1/2 medium lemon, juice and zest
3 ripe roma tomatoes, quartered
1 to 2 serrano chilies
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients in Vita-Mix container or blender container in the order listed.  Put the lid on and turn the Vita-Mix to #1.  Increase speed quickly to #4 and run for a few seconds until the ingredients are chopped to your liking.  You might need to stop after a few seconds and scrape down the sides of the container to ensure even mixing.  Enjoy!


  1. Oh I know what you mean! I relied on pre-packaged food and fast food waaaay too much in college and surpassed the “freshman 15” into the “junior 20.” Regan *gently asked* that I not prepare pre-packaged meals when we got married, and we’ve been shopping the perimeter of our grocery store ever since. 🙂

  2. Somehow I missed your comment. Prepackaged foods can be so unhealthy and packed with all kinds of things we really don’t need. Glad you are eating healthy.

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