How Eating at Home Can Save Your Life

by

THE SLOW INSIDIOUS DISPLACEMENT of home cooked and communally shared family meals by the industrial food system has fattened our nation and weakened our family ties.

In 1900, 2 percent of meals were eaten outside the home. In 2010, 50 percent were eaten away from home and one in five breakfasts is from MacDonald’s.

Most family meals happen about three times a week, last less than 20 minutes and are spent watching television or texting while each family member eats a different microwaved “food”. More meals are eaten in the minivan than the kitchen.

Research shows that children who have regular meals with their parents do better in every way, from better grades, to healthier relationships, to staying out of trouble. They are 42 percent less likely to drink, 50 percent less likely to smoke and 66 percent less like to smoke marijuana.

Regular family dinners protect girls from bulimia, anorexia, and diet pills. Family dinners also reduce the incidence of childhood obesity. In a study on household routines and obesity in U.S. preschool aged children, it was shown that kids as young as four have a lower risk of obesity if they eat regular family dinners, have enough sleep, and don’t watch TV on weekdays.

We complain of not having enough time to cook, but Americans spend more time watching cooking on the Food Network, than actually preparing their own meals. In his series Food Revolution, Jamie Oliver showed us how we have raised a generation of Americans who can’t recognize a single vegetable or fruit, and don’t know how to cook.

I believe the most important and the most powerful tool you have to change your health and the world is your fork.

The family dinner has been hijacked by the food industry. The transformations of the American home and meal outlined above did not happen by accident.

Broccoli, peaches, almonds, kidney beans, and other whole foods don’t need a food ingredient label or bar code, but for some reason these foods—the foods we co-evolved with over millennia—had to be “improved” by Food Science.

As a result, the processed-food industry and industrial agriculture has changed our diet, decade by decade, not by accident but by intention.

That we need nutritionists and doctors to teach us how to eat is a sad reflection of the state of society. These are things our grandparents knew without thinking twice about them. What foods to eat, how to prepare them, and an understanding of why you should share them in family and community have been embedded in cultural traditions since the dawn of human society.

One hundred years ago all we ate was local, organic food; grass-fed, real, whole food. There were no fast-food restaurants, there was no junk food, there was no frozen food—there was just what your mother or grandmother made. Most meals were eaten at home. In the modern age that tradition, that knowledge, is being lost.

The sustainability of our planet, our health, and our food supply are inextricably linked. The ecology of eating—the importance of what you put on your fork—has never been more critical to our survival as a nation or as a species. The earth will survive our self-destruction. But we may not.

Common sense and scientific research lead us to the conclusion that if we want healthy bodies we must put the right raw materials in them: real; whole; local; fresh; unadulterated; unprocessed; and chemical-, hormone-, and antibiotic-free food. There is no role for foreign molecules such as trans fats and high-fructose corn syrup, or for industrially developed and processed food that interferes with our biology at every level.

That is why I believe the most important and the most powerful tool you have to change your health and the world is your fork. Imagine an experiment—let’s call it a celebration: We call upon the people of the world to join together and celebrate food for one week. For one week or even one day, we all eat breakfast and dinner at home with our families or friends. For one week we all eat only real, whole, fresh food. Imagine for a moment the power of the fork to change the world.

The extraordinary thing is that we have the ability to move large corporations and create social change by our collective choices. We can reclaim the family dinner, reviving and renewing it. Doing so will help us learn how to find and prepare real food quickly and simply, teach our children by example how to connect, build security, safety and social skills, meal after meal, day after day, year after year.

Here are some tips that will help you take back the family dinner in your home starting today.

Reclaim Your Kitchen

Throw away any foods with high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated fats or sugar or fat as the first or second ingredient on the label. Fill your shelves with real fresh, whole, local foods when possible. And join a community support agriculture network to get a cheaper supply of fresh vegetables weekly or frequent farmers markets.

Reinstate the Family Dinner

Read Laurie David’s The Family Dinner. She suggests the following guidelines: Make a set dinnertime, no phones or texting during dinner, everyone eats the same meal, no television, only filtered or tap water, invite friends and family, everyone clean up together.

Eat Together

No matter how modest the meal, create a special place to sit down together, and set the table with care and respect. Savor the ritual of the table. Mealtime is a time for empathy and generosity, a time to nourish and communicate.

Learn How to Cook and Shop

You can make this a family activity, and it does not need to take a ton of time. Keep meals quick and simple.

Plant a Garden

This is the most nutritious, tastiest, environmentally friendly food you will ever eat.

Conserve, Compost, and Recycle

Bring your own shopping bags to the market, recycle your paper, cans, bottles and plastic and start a compost bucket (and find where in your community you can share you goodies).

Invest in Food

As Alice Waters says, food is precious. We should treat it that way. Americans currently spend less than 10 percent of their income on food, while most European’s spend about 20 percent of their income on food. We will be more nourished by good food than by more stuff. And we will save ourselves much money and costs over our lifetime.

Get started today!  Get your copy of The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook  today.  When you purchase this book from this link you will gain access to these exclusive Dr. Hyman bonuses:

  • 1-Week Gluten-Free Meal Plan – Maps out a full week of breakfasts, lunches and dinners PLUS all new recipes for these.
  • Access to Dr. Hymans Kitchen Videos – Including cooking demos, Fridge and Pantry makeover, supermarket shopping tips and more.  Over 60 minutes of footage.
  • You will be invited to a live online presentation hosted by Dr. Hyman on March 27th, 2013.

Click here to learn more.

Now I’d like to hear from you.

Do you think the health of our planet and the health of our diet are linked? How?

Which of the steps outlined above have you taken in your own life and how have they worked for you?

What ideas do you have that will help us reclaim the family dinner and revive the tradition of eating real, whole foods?

Please leave your thoughts by adding a comment below – but remember, we can’t offer personal medical advice online, so be sure to limit your comments to those about taking back our health!

To your good health,

Mark Hyman, MD

81 Responses to How Eating at Home Can Save Your Life

  1. Tim Smith January 7, 2011 at 10:09 pm #

    A saying that comes to mind is this..Get the man right and the world will be right.
    Yes the world will survive be we won’t . Your well written article is to the point.
    And again very true its what you put on your fork that counts.
    We have,as a nation been “programed” into are eating choices.
    Drive down the highway with the signs advertising “food” and what do you see..exactly all the fast food places and calling it food so it must be food and this only scratches the surface with all the other programing as well.
    For myself I went completely vegetarian and could not be happier. 76 pounds released and getting so many comments about how good I look.
    Its really not that funny to think about this yet here we are less than 400 hundred years old and the sickest nation on Earth. Could it have anything to do with our eating choices? How could it for they tell us what is food.
    People need a reminder that everything counts, everything that goes in the front door..your mouth… makes a difference in how the “Temple” in which you dwell. your own body reacts.
    Lets get back to the basics, WHOLE real food is the only way to go.

  2. Debra Goodwin January 8, 2011 at 4:11 am #

    I have recently been enlightened to the fact that if I don’t do something quick my 12 year old son who is now insulin resistant may be a full blown diabetic by the time he is in college and I will hold myself 100% accountable!
    I have collectively asked all of my relatives, my husband, my parents and my friends to work together with me to help my son regain control of his health.
    I want to be his role model. I need to get it together myself. We have started by sitting down for dinner together, cutting out pop and juices, and not going through the drive through! Your website is giving me the courage and the knowledge to help me on this journey. Our children should not be poisoned by food…neither should we. Thank you for your research and sharing your knowledge with the public.

    • john rogers March 3, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

      Good for you Debra! You can reverse this problem in your son but it takes support from your entire family, and dont surrender to the hectic pace of todays world, make it a priority to change your families diet, dont give up!

  3. J. Lee January 10, 2011 at 7:49 am #

    My husband has been on various cholesterol-lowering medications for decades because of hereditary high cholesterol and over the years his combined HDL/LDL level still crept up to nearly 300 points even though he was taking Zocor, etc. After we switched to raw whole milk (legal here in CT) and started making our own kefir, his overall cholesterol level dropped 100+ points and his HDL/LDL ratio improved.

    With the addition of fermented cod liver oil to our diets, I have reversed my severe osteoporosis to “mere” osteopenia (not good, but an improvement) without taking any drugs.

    Anecdotal, of course, but we’ll never go back to pasturized, homogenized milk or stop taking FCLO.

    We don’t even think that MacDonalds sells food – we think they just sell stuff that looks like food.

    Eating out? What’s that?

  4. Paul Turner January 10, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    I agree that eating family meals of foods which are close to nature will go a long way toward improving our collective health and well-being, however, our industrial food complex has seen fit to hide what is really in our food. The takeover and conversion of corn, soybeans, canola, cotton, sugar beets into genetically modified foods is just the beginning and many other food crops are sure to follow unless we find a way to curtail.and reverse this trend. Since genetically modified foods are not labeled in the United States, we are and will be hard-pressed to vote with our wallet

    Round-Up Ready sugar beets have been planted on more than 1 million acres in 10 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces, accounting for 95% of the 2010 crop, Monsanto said.

    As High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) takes a well-deserved hit and some companies begin to phase it out, we need to consider what they will be replacing it with. At grocery stores there are two common kinds of sugar. The more expensive one will have “Pure Cane” Sugar on the label while the other just says Sugar. Here in the United States, genetically modified foods do not have to be labeled as such. So guess what is in the Sugar.

    Also, the research being done on adding nanoparticles to our food is a big sleeper.
    The Rockefeller Foundation feels it important to make sure good PR goes out and not suffer the same bad PR as Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO).

    Do we really want the large food corps sneaking nanoparticles into our food?

  5. Priscilla January 12, 2011 at 5:11 am #

    I grow and preserve my own food instead of buying factory-canned, dried and frozen food. I’ve had a vegetable garden every year for the past 6 years. I start everything from seed so I know exactly how my food has been raised and treated. At harvest time, I use a dial-gauge canner to can my vegetables and a food dehydrator for my herbs, some peppers, etc. I also have a Food Saver vacuum sealer to freeze items that cannot be canned or dehydrated.

  6. irene lerner January 12, 2011 at 5:40 pm #

    My husband and I are following your ultrametabolism plan. I have several of your books and am a firm believer in all you have to say. Bravo for you breaking through with common sensical ways to combat the barrage of media and advertising hype. If you hold a focus group, we’d love to be a part. Thanks for your efforts. Irene Lerner

  7. Kate Thompson January 13, 2011 at 12:34 am #

    Love the article. So many of our difficult life situations could be improved if we went back to the kitchen on a daily basis. My husband and I work evenings (teaching children), so our family dinner is at lunchtime. We sit down together to eat home cooked food and talk. It’s our favorite part of the day. And every afternoon we go off to work with a dinner kit of homemade foods for our breaks during the evening. My husband is in his mid fifties and I’m in early sixties, yet we’re still able to keep up with our strenuous coaching schedule and traveling to meets.We also like to grow some of our own food – the combination of sun, exercise, and working in the dirt make are invigorating.

  8. Susan Westbrook January 12, 2011 at 11:50 pm #

    Dr. Hyman: I just read your article “How Eating at Home Can Save Your Life” and I say Amen to every single word. A serious digestive condition forced our family into good clean eating and the results have been remarkable. A year ago I was barely tolerating liquid diet and now I can eat again. I started a blog to try to help and encourage others, and I posted a link to your article.

  9. Mary Motto January 13, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    I’m a graduate of IIN in NYC. I had Dr. Hyman, Dr. Oz, Dr. Weil, Depak Chopra and many more nutrition and lifestyle experts. I believe in the value of the family meal as my family has held this tradition strong throughout our hectic lives. We share home cooked meals most nights of the week (5-6) and have remained a close knit family unit through the craziness of our lives.
    My daughter, now a sophmore in college in an apartment of her own and I’m not getting my money worth on her meal plan. She insists on using her crockpot to make yummy homemade soups and stews for she and her roommates when they return home from classes, jobs and caring for horses. She tries to eat breakfast and dinner at home with her roommates, whenever possible.
    I believe she has a craving for homemade whole foods from her years at home at our table. I’m very proud of her following the path of health. It will serve her well in years to come.

  10. Jessica Taft January 13, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

    I couldn’t agree more, which is why my business as a food coach….teaching healthy recipe lessons…is attracting more and more attention. Keep up the good work, Dr. Hyman! It is a pleasure to read your work.

  11. Philippe Dahan January 13, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

    What you are saying is so true, we are struggling to have a sit down dinner with our 3 kids. 2 of them being teens. We must spend over 100$ a week in eating out alone and its not because my wife does not cook. She does but we are such in a rutt for eating junk food that we are forgetting the good taste of her home cooked meals. Her home made soups are restaurant quality no joke but we have junk food tatooed on our forheads. I am the one to blame mostly I grew up loving burgers and fries and unfortunetly I have kept on going and I have not helped my family. Its very hard to get out of this rutt. Sports for the kids means quick drive thru orders after games and sometimes before! I saw you this morning on CNN and yes teenagers need to be guided even at the ages of 18 years old especially if they still live at home.

    Thank you

    Philippe Dahan
    Montreal, Quebec

  12. jodi January 13, 2011 at 5:00 pm #

    Fantastic article Dr. Hyman. I spoke on this exact subject in San Francisco yesterday and am always surprised when I realize that most people eat their meals on the run, from the take out counters, or frankly where ever they can (should I really be surprised anymore?). I’m a huge advocate of family dinner and as a food writer and cooking teacher I’m lucky enough to be in a position to help people get into the kitchen and back in the dining room. Letting family dinner fall by the waist side is tragic-we’re letting something very precious disappear from our lives. I applaud your efforts-thanks you!

  13. Lester January 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

    Hello! All your points are valid. Food is a matter of culture, and we all make our choices. Living in Canada now, I brought my cooking habits from Hungary, and spoiled my kids’ tastebuds for good. Now nothing else is good enough!
    We raised four children, and before they flew the nest, they all knew how to cook and bake for themselves. We knew how important those skills are.
    If macdonalds went bankrupt, we wouldn’t know or notice or miss it. No weight, smoking or drinking problems, but when we all get together for dinner [which is often], we share a bottle of good wine or beer. Taking turns at making supper distributes the duties. It works well, no one bitches about washing dishes.
    Not surprisingly, the only feeding problems are in the in-laws habits [they both grew up in N.Am.], so life is not perfect, but they can learn.
    Homegrown vegies = check. Composting = check. Homemade bread =check.
    Your advice on a set mealtime and “enforced” togetherness is often counterproductive. Spontaneous, easygoing lifestyle has its benefits!

    Best Regards, LS

  14. S. J. Bouchier January 14, 2011 at 5:46 am #

    Absolutely true. We spend a large percentage of our very limited income on organic food which is prepared at home. Organic bread from small bakeries is a revelation to those used to spongy steamed mass produced bread. Nearly all meals are eaten around a table. No television during meals and hardly any at any other time of the day! Try conversation instead – current affairs can be interesting to young minds. We don’t need to rattle around in big houses and follow fashion – spend money on well sourced food instead! I have two children in their teens who are learning to think for themselves and not bow to peer group pressure. Not always easy but can be done.

  15. Terry Carmen January 14, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

    I couldn’t agree more.

    Initially people are unwilling to give up “fast food” and “restaurant food” because they think home cooking is boring and tasteless.

    It isn’t.

    In fact, once you build a few kitchen skills you’ll regard “eating out” with the same enthusiasm as “eating out of the dumpster”.

    If you have some shrimp, some olive oil, a little garlic and a couple of dried peppers, you can make Gambas Ajillo (Garlic Shrimp): http://www.bupkis.org/index.php/recipes-2/soups/gambas-ajillo-garlic-shrimp

    Along with some freshly baked bread and a glass of nice red wine, I can guarantee that it’s almost certainly one of the most astonishingly wonderful things you’ve ever eaten.

    Got some Chick Peas and a little Tahini? You can make yummy better-than-restaurant quality hummous in a flash.

    http://www.bupkis.org/index.php/recipes-2/soups/lemon-garlic-hummus

    Learn to cook! It’s easy, healthy, a ton of fun and actually brings a great deal of personal satisfaction.

  16. Elaine Keyes January 15, 2011 at 9:40 am #

    I seldom watch TV but not so long ago while in the hospital following surgery I spent quite a few hours watching cooking shows.

    What struck me was the fact that little or no content was about nutrition. The foods being prepared were usually “different” or “gourmet” and not the healthy easily prepared tasty meals that a family should eat on a day-to-day basis. Many relied on processed food as ingredients.

    These cooking shows could be a powerful educational and motivational tool to revamp the American diet and change our attitude toward food and health. Sadly the developing world is adopting our diet and that trend needs to be halted.We are missing an opportunity but I see little chance for change while the food industry sponsors these shows.

  17. Gigi Centaro January 16, 2011 at 9:04 am #

    Dear Dr. Hyman,
    Thank you for your great article. To say I agree with you is the epitome of understatement. I published a cookbook last year that says exactly what you’re saying here. My goal is to create a movement of families that are coming together to cook, eat and create family time at the dinner table. The importance of time at the dinner table to share a meal and conversation can never be overstated. You are 100% correct, we have an entire generation of people that don’t know how to cook.

    I love your celebration of food idea. The thought of having everyone eating breakfast and dinner at home for one week is fantastic. It would have amazing impact. People have forgotten how important family dinnertime can be. It’s our job to remind them, teach them how to do it, and encourage them.

  18. S.S.Jayasundera January 16, 2011 at 11:55 am #

    An excellent article & learnt a lot.
    Thank you a lot

  19. burberry bags January 16, 2011 at 9:24 pm #

    Great article. Thank you for your provided information.

  20. Rajkumar Sablani January 20, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    I nice article. feels like my thoughts put together on paper. I am one of the person , who hardly eats out . May be once in a year.

  21. sally cameron January 21, 2011 at 12:58 am #

    Dear Dr Hyman.

    Although I did not get to meet you last Friday (1/14), it was an honor to cook dinner for you as part of the Daniel Plan kickoff dinner. I have professed most of what you outline above for years and am so excited that you are teaching this to Saddleback Church members as well as many others! I know they are listening!

    People ask me how I can be so thin and be a chef. It’s because I follow much of what you teach above. Healthy choices, cooking at home, reading labels. Food is precious and many Americans take it for granted, very different than we have experienced traveling in Europe. There is some hope though.

    I am a personal chef, and my clients often hire me because they want to eat healthier but don’t have time, energy or the knowledge to do so. And i love to teach people how to cook, shop and make better choices. Cooking is not only fun but necessary, if you are going to feed your family better and be healthier.

    As you said, people do need to reclaim their kitchen and learn to cook. People need to learn that shopping and cooking can be enjoyable, not a chore. As you said, get the family involved, and that way an important skill set is being taught and passed down. They also need to re-learn how to shop, make wise choices and read labels.

    I am so excited to have discovered you and your website! Thanks you so much for all that you are doing. I’ve become a fast fan.

    Kind Regards,

    Chef Sally

  22. Brian MOran January 22, 2011 at 8:43 am #

    I agree with Mark about eating whole-natural foods, and the mealtime with family at home can be a bonding time. Sometimes, we find that the Organic foods are too expensive (Whole Foods) so we buy the “unorganic” fruits and veggies. Amy tips for finding food “communes”? Thanks, Brian

  23. TexasMom January 22, 2011 at 8:51 am #

    The replacement of corn sweeteners for cane sweeteners seems to correlate with the obesity epidemic; millions pooh-poohing this but the truth may be our bodies process corn fructose differently. One can of Coke classic a day could bring on diabetes! Juices aren’t much better.
    The best drink is pure water! (Even that is hard to find these days, if you ask for water with a meal you likely get tap water, laced with flouride, cadmium, etc.)
    It is possible to grow your own vegetables, even in small spaces, a patio or mixed in with decorative border plants.
    We drive everywhere, spend more sedentary time or artificially “exercise” at a gym – walking is hard to do in some areas with no sidewalks, etc.
    Wei has some games that require some movement, at least. But overall, the cards are stacked against those of us with peasant DNA!

  24. Barbara Taylor January 22, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    One of the things that this generation has lost is the art of canning fresh foods and vegs. Most people don’t know what canning is, but if you have a canner it is a very valuable tool to keep healthy and to lower the cost of feeding your family. We plant a small garden and buy from the locally grown market as much as we can each summer. Last year we got 20 ears of corn for $1.00. Canned them and had 40 ears for the winter., the same with tomatoes, potatoes, green beans and other goodies. So, if you can, tey canni9ng, not in the can foods. You will love the different taste and it is so easy to do. Thanks and keep up the good work.

  25. Bobbi Fields January 22, 2011 at 10:11 am #

    Thank you Dr. Hyman, for a great article. My parents lived into their early nineties. I remember my Father always telling me that you should never Forgin (sic? old yiddish word) yourself from eating good, quality food. They were by no means considered rich, but they were rich in nutrients that enabled them to live wonderful long lives.

  26. Bobbi Fields January 22, 2011 at 10:17 am #

    I forgot to mention that my Father, Sid Bolon, who was a writer, wrote “The family that eats together, will always know what’s eating them.”

  27. Mary Thorpe January 22, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    Not only is cooking at home more nutritious and bond bulding, but it is eless expensive. The companies who prepare processed foods are making a profit at the expense of our health and pocketbooks.

  28. Dr. Kathleen Nelson January 22, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

    I absolutely agree with Dr. Hyman’s article on home cooked meals. Most restaurants use canola oil to fry foods, and plenty of research available online has shown canola to be a very toxic oil made from rapeseed. Further, one cannot know what type of sugars are used in desserts. Additionally, other chemicals, in what is called molecular gastronomy, are now “hip” in food preparations which you can see on Food Network shows. Using fresh, organically grown fruits, vegetables, grains, and organically farmed meats and poultry free of hormones GMOs, chemical fertilizers and pesticides in the food fed the animals is essential. Natural sugars such as honey, molasses, sorghum are excellent sweeteners. Organic coconut oil, or organic virgin olive oil are outstanding, wholesome options. Sure this is a “purest” point of view. Consider this: as one ages and the signs of chemical abuse to the body start to appear, the price of eating organic vs the price of medical care, medications and the debilitating effects of toxic chemicals disguised as “medications” will prove an insightful and intelligent life style choice. Additionally, when we start to see diabetes in very young children, along with other diet related diseases, the choice to eat wholesome, home cooked meals becomes even more urgent. If not only for ourselves, preserving the health for the future generations is essential. We do NOT want to burden them with diet related diseases when the choice is obvious to all. Get rid of fast foods, HFCS loaded candies, cookies, cakes, etc.; delete all sugary sodas, chemically loaded prepackaged foods, and shop the periphery of the store where you find fresh produce, meats, wholesome grain products, etc. Then cook at home and watch your health and that of your family soar.

  29. LA Kennedy January 22, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    Dr. Hyman: you could not be more correct in your observations.

    Of course the health of the planet and our bodies are linked. If we care not enough to respect all aspects of the place we live, it cannot provide food that returns that respect to our bodies.

    I was raised in an old-fashioned home and have brought those values to our home. All of your steps have been life for us, always and it shows in a family of excellent health, intelligence, diligence in life and happiness. Does not mean we bypass the hardships of life, but we are able to weather them and come together to count our blessings.

    My ideas for reclaiming family and meals together have spawned a business. At the Copper Sage Academy I teach simple cooking, mindful food preparation. What to do with organic produce, where does it come from tours with U-picking (only a few miles from here). I teach about fermented foods, gluten free baking and cooking, canning and preserving the harvest, sourdough, how to make cheese at home, home beverage making, organic home food gardening in small spaces and other ways to control the content of your food with your own hands. It seems to be working and I hope to make a living at it, thereby slowly helping in my way to bring people back to the kitchen and the table.

    There is no way to reclaim our health and to gain vibrant productive lives over industrial diseases other than taking back our food, its content and its preparation. Thanks for being a well recognized voice of sense in the wilderness of industrial medicine. I believe it will not be an easy fight, but it will be worth the effort.

    Food is Precious and many people are beginning to realize that if they do not begin treating it that way there will be nothing to eat that is worth eating.

  30. Chuck January 22, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

    Behaviors require motivation and reward. Real cultural change is tough.
    The family dinner needs the respect and encouragement of the community that is of importance to that individual family.
    A basic problem is that in today’s communities, coherent ‘old fashioned’ family structure ( mom, dad, kids, closely related blood relatives ) is hard to find. The definition of “family” has become so murky and is often described so broadly as to take in nearly any pattern of personal life style..
    Too many working moms; too many single moms; too many hedonistic, uncaring fathers.
    There needs to be the re-establishment of a desirable coherent family image within the community.
    What motivation(s) could be offered to these disparate

  31. Megan Green January 22, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    Hey, This is amazing! 2 months ago I was the ‘normal’ mom of our generation, hot dogs, Kraft Dinner, Campbell tomato soup all for lunch! Everything out of a box, not very many veggies or fruit.
    I have a 3 year old, a 2 year old and a 1 year old.
    I decided in Dec that our New Years Resolution is to not eat ANY processed food. For a year (or now its FOREVER). Now we arnt eating any gluten, and any cows milk, yogurt or cheese. We are setting ourselves up to be self sistaining by June. We live on 2 acres in BC, Canada. Already have 7 goats for fun, why not go back to the way things were? We are getting 100 chickens, making a huge garden, I have been making Almond milk and cheese. Its been great! Way easier than I thought, and its made us feel WAY better.
    We have decided to live this way for a number of reasons. My uncle dying of lung cancer after NEVER smoking (he was a farmer – pesticides). Using Norwex products (all natural), and realizing that those big companies are telling us to do things, NOT becasue they care about us, but because they MAKE MONEY OFF US!!! Its amazing how many people dont get that. :)

  32. Peggy LIndquist January 22, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    Yea! Right on. Thanks for this absolutely great article.

  33. Marilyn White January 22, 2011 at 2:42 pm #

    Eating at home as a family is a much saner routine than eating on the fly or eating out. We’ve planted a garden and we’re both involved in watering, harvesting and eating the fruit of our labor.

    We all need to hear what you advocate.

  34. Ann Knowles January 22, 2011 at 3:29 pm #

    I would like to know what the research is that shows that kids do better when they eat homemade food with their families. I totally believe it and have always cooked for my family (and myself!). I would like to send this info to the principal of our school, but it would be more meaningful if I could site research studies that prove this.

    I hope to hear back about this!

    Thanks,
    Ann Knowles

  35. Robyn O'Brien January 22, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    Believe in your ability to affect change. None of us can do everything, but all of us can do one thing. And in a nation of 300 million eaters, those 300 million “one thing”s, collectively, can create remarkable change in our food system and in the health of our families.

  36. Mary A. Pierce January 22, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

    Mark,

    I SO appreciate your words of wisdom on this subject! I have believed for a long time that we are sacrificing way too much by not having meals together. We’ve lost all of the benefits of that – social skills (sharing, consideration, communication, etc.), caring, looking each other in the eye without the distraction of technology. The whole value of human life is so critical that we deserve to share this “coming-together” time for our mental health and all that that encompasses. And the refocusing of the fact that our grandparents ate simple, organic foods is so powerful to think about! I so appreciate you and have been eternally grateful for running across you when I found your book “Ultra Metabolism” about a year ago. Thank you so much for sharing your life and your passionate conviction with all of us!

    Sincerely,

    Mary A. Pierce

  37. Florencse Barrera January 22, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

    We are made from the dust of the earth. Therefore, the planet should be treated like our Mother Earth, clean, pure, loving and kind. Our food will nourish us in the same way and so our body will reflect those same qualities. On the other hand, if the Earth
    is treated unkindly, unpurely, unclean and unlovingly so our bodies will reflect likewise and the result has nothing else to show but disease.

    As much as possible, I chose to shop, eat and prepare my own meals. I select as much as possible organic.

  38. Lora Cotton January 22, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

    Dr. Hyman, I grew up with parents who insisted on the daily family dinner. My mother taught us to cook by allowing us to sometimes choose the menu and then help in the shopping and preparation. Now I find cooking at home one of the most relaxing and rewarding parts of my life. I work full time as a Family Practice physician, but still find time to shop and cook because it is a joy in my life. My husband and I talk for at least an hour over dinner each evening, which I believe strengthens our marriage. It is no mystery that cooking wholesome foods at home is the solution to our culture’s problems with obesity and lack of fulfillment in relationships. My struggle is how do we get our culture to start cooking and eating at home again?

  39. valerie January 22, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

    Fabulous article. You hit the “nails” right on the head. This is exactly what I talk to my clients about and what I give lectures on. I have had very positive responses to this when I talk to high school students. I ask them to bring in foods they like and then read the labels of those foods. It is eye opening to them. They truly want to learn which makes me believe that the education process has to begin with the parents and the students, jointly, together. On a personal note I eat dinner with my two teenage children at least 5 nights a week. I insist on this. It is a time for connecting and learning about them and their lives in and out of school. I do not allow phones or other electronic devices during this time. It is one hour, but such an important hour. Our society has drifted a long way of our grandparents. It is time to return to some of the old ways…as you said our lives are dependent on it.

  40. Christine Bauer January 22, 2011 at 6:42 pm #

    Bravo. What I’ve been saying for 20 years. We have eaten nearly 100% of our meals at home all this time. We do not have the health issues many of our friends have. This is not gloating. I wish more people stayed at home and made the dinner hour once again an important family ritual. These remarks are from a pro choice, pro gay rights, anti Iraq war, ardent and passionate liberal. Bring back the family hour every night. Compel those outside your home to respect this quality time. Make yourself not available on your phones or any other message system. If you must have the television on, choose something light hearted and entertaining, not the nightly news anchors or commentators. Play music on the radio or stereo instead of the t.v. I would never have dreamed of telling either of my parents that I did not wish to eat with them nor eat what was served at dinner. What dreadful manners and how ungrateful. If you think most of the food out in the world is “food”, you are kidding yoruselves. The number motive of the restaurant industry is to sell their products. Whether or not what they sell you is good for you. Whether it is a top restaurant or a fast food “joint”. Very few places make quality of product the first mandate. Those who do sell a good product and have a loyal following. But such places are hard to find and rare. Best to eat at home and explore everything there is to eat in this wide world.

  41. Katie January 22, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

    We cook all our meals and make much of our bread. It is much cheaper than eating out. But there is no way to realistically get away from eating genetically engineered, pesticide ridden food. Wheat, corn, vegetable oil, etc. contain it. To suggest buying everything from a health food store, or to buy only organic and in season and then “put up” your fruits and vegetables for the winter is not realistic. It is too time consuming and expensive. Growing an organic garden is nice, and we do it — but expensive if you actually add it up (fencing, etc.). And the deer get half of it anyway.

    A first step would be if foods were properly labeled. Then market forces might actually have a chance to turn this around. But the only labels I find are the kind that say “grown in Peru.”

    What do you suggest as a realistic solution for people on a budget?

  42. Carol January 22, 2011 at 9:52 pm #

    Excellent statement, Mark Hyman. As a mom to a family of 5, I’m with you on this one. We need reminders like this. Yes we do!

  43. Joan Moore January 22, 2011 at 11:09 pm #

    I think the health of our planet and our diet are definitely linked. The more local our food source is the smaller the carbon footprint. If all you look at is the use of potable water to produce processed foods and the condition of that water when it leaves a food factory, the link is clear. The there is the issue of all the toxins in our so-called food. Toxins undermine our health and the health of the planet. Neither of us is designed to handle them in such large amounts. If we insisted on real local organically grown food in season and composted what we don’t eat to return to the garden for its nourishment, we would soon have cleaner air, water, and soil. And our food would be more nutritious.

    I reuse bags when shopping and take baskets and cloth totes sometimes to the store. I have a small garden and plans to expand it using heirloom seeds. I gave up sugar last summer with rare exceptions and have lost about 20 unwanted pounds. My blood pressure has gone down. I read labels like my life depends on it because it does. Even in the “health food” stores because increasingly what is in these stores is junk.

    My idea for reclaiming family dinners and eating whole foods is for parents to grown up and reclaim their roles as the adults in the family there to guide and teach their children instead of letting kids and their oversugared tastebuds rule. Children who toss good lunches into the garbage and buy candy and soda at school are children who have too much spending money. I don’t care if they earned it themselves; it needs to go into their savings for college. If kids turn up their noses at perfectly good food, they need to have no alternative except to get hungry. It is amazing what missing a meal or two will do for your appetite and how different food tastes when that happens. Also, children need to be involved in the shopping and preparation of the food. When included in an unrushed way they usually enjoy being part of such activities. Unrushed is key. Priority needs to go to the family looking after its health over and above umpteen so-called enrichment programs and classes. What could be more enriching than gardening for your own food anyway?

    One more thing: get rid of the microwave. It only destroys valuable enzymes anyway. An extension of family involvement in experiencing the reality of what food is and where it comes from might be kids learning (and teaching others) more about nutrition through their school projects and science fairs. Projects need to go deeper than the fake information passed out by corporations and health professional hacks who really think the body doesn’t know the difference between synthetic and natural vitamins.

  44. Lauren January 23, 2011 at 1:42 am #

    I was raised with the idea that a family eats together every night, home cooked meals, filled with vegtables, whole grains, and protein: my Mom put together amazing meals, and taught me by example, how to cook and eat well. Maybe unrelated (but I think not), I never smoked, got drunk, or used any drug, ever. Now that I have my own 3 year old, I take him into the kitchen with me to help prepare our meals, which we eat together every day, sharing conversation and the ritual of family time. He is a happy child, a great eater, and will try anything you place in front of him at least once. I know with all the pressures of today’s society, it is difficult to juggle all the tasks we need to, but aren’t our children the most precious gifts we have been given: teaching them to eat well will lead to all sorts of benefits that will carry them throughout their lives. I believe it is a parents’ obligation to arm them with the knowledge they need to lead health-filled lives.

  45. Shirley January 23, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    Thanks for this article. I got together with 2 friends yesterday and this subject took up a lot of our discussion. Even if you don’t have a family to eat with, enjoy cooking for yourself and using the leftovers for lunches during the week.

  46. Carmi January 23, 2011 at 10:45 am #

    Thank you for posting this article. It is very informative, excellent food for thought.

  47. Holly Eckert January 23, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    I grew up in a very dysfunctional family in which the dinner table was a place of potential terror. The five children never knew when my mother and father would erupt into one of their daily fights or my father would completely loose his temper and start throwing things at people or maybe even grab somebody and start hitting them. I wanted to travel a different road then my parents and one of the first things I did as an adult was try to reclaim the space of eating as peaceful and health giving space. I’ve worked very hard to do that my entire adult life. I am now a 44 year old woman who has spent the last 15 years of her life with her loving husband sitting at a nicely set table each night enjoying a meal together. I made a commitment to making a full, home cooked meal each night about ten years ago when I became ill with epilepsy and stopped working outside the home and really made home making my full-time job. The health benefits of this decision and effort to both my husband and my mental and physical health have been immense. It does require discipline and dedication to make this a reality. As an artist, I know these two skills very well and apply them each night. Having worked for hours as a choreographer in the studio making dances, I know that sometimes you are inspired and sometimes you aren’t inspired. Either way, you always do the work, and strangely enough, sometimes the work you do uninspired is some of your best work. The benefits of this ritual on my marriage have been enormous. Each night my husband and I not only feed our bodies, we feed our souls and our relationship. We chat about our day, our worries, our cares, our interests, and all sorts of other things. We bond. We have become so estranged in our culture from the foundations of life, specifically food and the companionship and health it brings us. My husband and I began raising our own food about six years ago when we started our little “urban farm” in Seattle. You want to add another incredible component of health and vitality to your life, not only eat together but grow your food together. I still live with epilepsy but feel healthier now in many ways then I have ever in my life. I also care for my epilepsy through nutritiion and lifestyle, something unheard of out in our narrow medical industry. I’m trying to write a book on that experience. To your good health.

  48. Dr. John Koroloff January 23, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

    I teach a college level class for non-biology majors, The Biology of Obesity, Aging and Disease to show how scientific information can be linked to personal lifestyle. In that class, I introduce the concept of “Evidence Based Belief Systems:” Namely that our beliefs drive the choices we make and our choices always have consequences. Ergo, we must insure that that our beliefs are based on the best information available and be willing to change those beliefs as newer and better information becomes available. In addition to the importance of diet and exercise to healthy lifestyle and recently adding recent information on stress and adequate sleep I will now add a focus on the importance of oursocial eating environment.
    Thanks for sharing this information Dr. Hyman, it makes a nice addition to my belief system and will definitely affect both the choices I make and consequences I experience in the future.

  49. martha@simple-nourished-living.com January 23, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

    What a motivating article. I believe that the health of our planet is linked to the quality of the food we eat. Only by getting back to eating real food can we hope to reclaim the health & vitality we deserve. I am health & nutrition coach committed to helping as many people as possible live by the tips you suggest. It takes time, energy and desire to change course, but I believe our lives depend on it.

  50. Nancy Allen January 23, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

    We do what you have listed above. All of us look forward to meal time each evening. We spend time connecting and sharing our day. We also would add that having only one parent work outside the home and the other inside the home makes for much greater calmness.

  51. Bronwen January 24, 2011 at 10:47 am #

    It used to be that the planet was mother to us all, and showed us clearly the right way to live. Now, in all our arrogance, and given a very big push by big multinationals, we have become matricidal. Or should I say suicidal. Both.
    It is of huge concern to me that so much damage can be done in so short a space of time – for millennia we have eaten well and with reverence, in accordance with nature and our genetic and cultural inheritance, and in less than a century we have almost completely destroyed this ancient knowledge.
    Destruction is much, much easier than creation (turn on the television news), and if we do not start on a more creative path soon it will be too late.
    Food should be a fundamental part of our moral and ethical consciousness, in which we learn respect for ourselves and for our fragile planet. It should be part of the grounding of our consciousness, not a thoughtless and hurried scoffing of toxic fodder that we have bought into because we have been asleep, or distracted.
    Nestle and Kelloggs and all their heirs have much to answer for, but so do we.
    “Food” (sic) that is very easy to get at, that is ridiculously cheap, and that takes no effort at all has distorted us in every possible way, from gross obesity to a wilful ignorance of the consequences of our actions, which latter is a denial of our humanity. There seems little sapiens left in homo sapiens.

  52. ~Me. January 24, 2011 at 2:33 pm #

    It’s pretty plain and simple…

    There are a variety of food choices out there.

    Ones that will help you die and ones that will help you live.

    Let’s choose the ones to help us live.

  53. Elisabeth Schmid, Zurich/Switzerland January 24, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    Dear Dr. Hyman

    Thank you so much for your wonderful article. It is about the best I have read in a long time. Cooking does need a little time (and good shopping even more), but I always try to make it a meditative practice when I cook, remembering the wisdom of nature, the hard work of the people to bring it about and also remembering in gratitude that in my life I never had to suffer hunger. I like to do the manual work when I cook.

    Your suggestions of setting a specific time for all family members together is most helpful for my own family situation.

    Thank you so much for your good work.
    Elisabeth Schmid

  54. Daphne January 24, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

    Thank you!!!! Dr. Hyman.

    I am a Pleasure Nutritionist and the foundation of my program is “eat food.” Just that alone is a radical notion for so many of us these days. Your article is a fantastic summation of what is going on in our culture and the need for Americans to, as you say, “reclaim the kitchen” and use “the power of the fork to change the world.”

    I will be quoting this article in my book.

    Thanks again,
    Daphne

  55. Leanne Ely January 26, 2011 at 8:53 am #

    This article is absolutely excellent and my battle cry for over 20 years. The whole reason my website exists is to help people in this quest to get back to the family dinner table and to reclaim their health, their families and their sanity. Life is entirely too short to spend time in the fast food lane; it’s not hard to make a healthy meal, but it starts with learning to cook–it’s a healthy life skill and as important as learning to floss your teeth. Everything starts with the family meal–from buying the food, preparing it, cooking it and eating it. Then to the table for learning the discourse of conversation, the civility of manners and how to clean up the aftermath.

    Thanks for today’s great article–someone posted this on our Facebook fan pages and said they thought of how we have helped them stay at home to eat their meals. I’m thrilled to have so many revered people (like you) finally joining this cause!

    Leanne Ely

  56. Charlotte Cotton January 27, 2011 at 3:16 pm #

    Dr. Hyman,
    I totally agree with you. When I go to the supermarket to shop for food for the week, I’ve become re-educated by you, as to how much in the market is not real “food”. I buy fresh fruits and vegetables, which are the mainstay of my diet, along with grains, and make homemade oatmeal, lots of salads and lots of filtered water, and the occasional herbal tea, with skinless fresh chicken.
    I skip the meat and fish (mercury), and I have lost 19 pounds since I’ve last seen you. You’ve made me so aware of sugar, fructose, cornstarch, and the empty calories in our foods. The same with salt – it’s in everything we eat, and I try to avoid it. Fresh fruits and vegetables and grains are the way to go.
    Thanks so much for all your coaching.
    All the best,
    Charlotte Cotton

  57. Jim Perlberg January 31, 2011 at 5:20 am #

    Dr. Hyman,
    You are correct, however, for those of us who eat at the workplace, or work an unconventional schedule, this is not easy. As a professor in a small community college my teaching schedule does not permit me to eat at the same time every day. However, I have made some changes to the way I eat, bringing most of my meals instead of eating at the cafeteria. Several years ago I began a conscious effort to remove anything with high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, refined whit sugar, and artificial sweeteners from my diet. I have been feeling much better, and eating much better since. Please keep up the good work. Some of us are listening.

  58. Marianne February 7, 2011 at 7:43 pm #

    I remember having dinner with my entire family, every day, all 9 of us! I think that example helped me to carry it over to my family, we also ate dinner together every day and now my daughters eat dinner with their families every day. I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything!

  59. multilingual ppc February 11, 2011 at 7:35 am #

    i like these point because food is necessary in our life i will make this dish for my parents

  60. Ben Conte March 25, 2011 at 7:31 am #

    Dr. Hyman,

    I am a very avid believer, proponent and follower of nutrigenomics and of your teachings of whole, raw food-based diets. After purchasing the audiobook version of “The UltraMind Solution: Fix Your Broken Brain By Healing Your Body First,” I decided to enroll in your emailing list. As a working, 22-year old full-time university student, I find it exceedingly difficult to find time to follow some of the ideals of cooking at home and “reclaiming my kitchen.” What advice do you have for someone who wishes to keep his body junk-free, but can’t seem to make time to eat as healthy and wholesome as possible, especially as someone who may have a gluten sensitivity. Any easy recipes, ideas, products? I also would like to read more articles from you covering the topic of schizophrenia and its potential causes and how they relate to nutrigenomics.

    A response would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you for all you do,

    A.B. Conte

  61. Holly Eckert August 13, 2011 at 9:56 am #

    About 10 years ago, I reinstituted a full, sit-down dinner in my home. I was facing chronic illness and wanted to find out what life would have been like for people in the past who ate from their own gardens and made full meals. I planted a garden and started cooking. I made a rule in my home that we ate all dinners at the table, no more of this eating in front of the TV. I learned to cook all sorts of things from squash bread to squash soups to delicious Indian curries to Kale pies. Life changed dramatically in my home. My marriage improved immensely as my husband and I sat down each evening to enjoy a good meal and good food together. Yes, it required effort and work on our part to make this a reality, but it was good effort and work. The kind of effort that feeds health not the kind that strips you of of your health. Try it. It’s well worth the effort.

  62. Dr. Haneca August 13, 2011 at 10:08 am #

    This is so true! Cooking has become a dying ART. And the cost of what that means is too high to pay. We need to be RE-INSPIRED in the kitchen. My whole family is Gluten Free and we make EVERY MEAL FROM SCRATCH and pack THREE GLUTEN FREE lunches everyday for my kids! It can be done! And it is worth it!

    We have to get re-connected with taking care of our bodies and giving them what they need! The body is so QUICK to give back what we put into it!
    We are facing a Chronic Disease Epidemic and the answer truly lies in the kitchen!

  63. Sylvia August 13, 2011 at 9:28 pm #

    Dr Hyman
    I am a 57 year old woman who has been unemployed for nearly 4 years. I do not eat out at all, plus I never buy frozen or ready meals. I cook all meals from scratch and can assure others that it is possible to eat well and healthily on a tight budget.
    I find my pressure cooker invaluable..it makes cooking nutritious and delicious whole foods quick and easy; makes meat tender and helps to retain the goodness in foods.
    I believe ones attitude toward cooking is a very important factor. I love good food, therefore I regard cooking as a pleasure rather than a chore, it simply requires some care and attention to reap the rewards.
    Avoiding cheap food fillers such as high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, sugars and the like is essential…plus eat foods with a low glycemic index as much as possible.
    I have been doing this for ten years now and unlike my siblings and father, I am not diabetic. I always read food labels because I believe the time it takes to do so is time I am investing in myself and my loved ones.
    We all need to be proactive in maintaining our own good health. I have certainly made it my job to do so.

  64. Leigh August 14, 2011 at 12:11 am #

    We have begun a dinner club in our neighborhood. There are 3 families involved- 6 adults and 2 chldren. We each take one night to cook a fresh meal for the 3 groups. That dinner is delivered to each family’s door around 6 pm. We do not eat together except when we intentionally gather to eat and review the wondrousness of this endeavor. We’ve done it for a year already and we’re all so grateful to cook for each other, and especially to have two meals a week delivered. We are eating out less, saving money, and feeling really good about sharing.

  65. Dr. Joseph Hegarty, Dip Htl.Mgnt. M.Ed., D.Ed April 21, 2012 at 5:21 am #

    Americans currently spend less than10 percent of their income on food, while most European’s spend about 20 percent of their income on food. This is more a function of the downturn in both the US and EU economies following the years of plenty than a lifestyle ‘choice’.

  66. Teri Erhardt November 25, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    Thank you, Dr. Hyman! How did such a simple concept as eating real foods get so messed up??!! It’s time to take back our meals, eat real food in the kitchen and send a resounding message to the food conglomerates that we are sick and tired (literally) of their controlling influence.

  67. Profile photo of Bill Graham
    Bill Graham March 3, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    Dear Dr. Hyman, I am a student at IIN and since I heard your lecture I have joined your website and purchased your Book the Blood Sugar Solution. I have been involved with health and wellness for many years now, but since I listened to your lectures I am now like a kid in a candy store. I just can’t get enough information. I am suggesting your book to all my clients, family, and friends. I am doing a free health and wellness talk next week in my community and your information will be spread throughout the community. You are doing great work and if I can help in any way it would be a great honor to work with you.
    Be Well,
    Bill Graham
    President & Founder
    Cambridge Wellness Associates ,Inc.

  68. Buford Suffridge March 3, 2013 at 10:07 am #

    Dr. Hyman,
    At my annual physical a bit over a year ago my A1c was 6.1, which was basically blown off by my physician but got my attention. I purchased The Blood Sugar Solution and the cookbook and 30 days later had myself retested and my A1c was down to 5.5, and this was after only 30 days, and I had lost 15 pounds and 2 months later had lost a total of 23 pounds. I’ve not been retested since but anticipate the A1c will be even lower since 90 days will have passed.
    Could you possibly address the relationship between diet and Aspergers Syndrome and perhaps relate an example of a patient you have treated.
    I’m also curious if I could make an appointment for a phone conversation with one of your nutritionists or nurse practioners relative to Aspergers Syndrome since I have a grandson diagnosed with a mild case?
    Thanks,
    Buford Suffridge DDS, MS

  69. Heather March 3, 2013 at 10:47 am #

    Some stay home mom friends and I who are into eating healthy and don’t eat out much were talking about how we get treated at grocery stores. Every single one of us has had people make rude comments about how many groceries we buy. I have had checkers make comments asking if I have a huge family, if I live in the mountains and I’m stocking up, etc. I realized that it’s because most people are eating out so much. People are supplementing with real food from the grocery store and having restaurant and fast food as their mainstay. People in the store aren’t used to seeing someone who eats most meals at home because we are no longer the norm. It’s a very sad state of affairs and it’s killing people.

    We used to be guilty of eating out a lot too until my son and I were diagnosed with celiac disease. It’s a hard disease to deal with because the world is full of gluten, but in reality it’s a blessing. It forced us to adopt a lifestyle we should have adopted anyways.

    We only eat out at a couple of family owned restaurants that we know use fresh ingredients. Recently I had to eat at a chain restaurant because of a party we were invited to. The food tasted awful! I could taste the chemicals and the salt. Everyone raved about it, and I had to gag down my salad with chicken on it. It was truly disgusting. I have no desire to eat at those places anymore.

  70. Trisha March 3, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    My husband and I both work full-time and I personally travel 1.5 hrs to work and back everyday. We have been so committed, along with our two grown sons (who still live home, by the way!), to eat healthfully and choose ‘whole’ foods vs. processed foods. It doesn’t matter how late it is during weeknights, but my husband (who loves to cook also), makes sure that we cook on most nights. I have had joint problems and hypothyroidism and believe that the consumption of ‘whole’ foods has quelled many of the symptoms and day-to-day annoyances these conditions bring. In closing, because we believe that ‘whole’ foods and sitting together as a family have been a priority, we have an extremely functional family, who eat together, communicate effectively and vacation together, just because it was important to us. Eat well and make the family and friends a priority! Maybe the world will be less dysfunctional – it starts with each one of us for change to occur! Thanks Dr. Hyman. You’ve nailed it!

  71. Elizabeth Allemann, MD March 3, 2013 at 5:32 pm #

    Family dinner doesn’t work for our family–people aren’t hungry at the same time. I ascribe a higher value to people eating when they are hungry than enforcing togetherness.

    There are many ways to embrace high quality food that doesn’t involve a family dinner. Cooking at home is important, and we love that. But it also helps to shop at a grocery story for “fast food”. A container of yogurt, a piece of fruit, a serving of cheese, some carrots and hummus, an avocado with cherry tomatoes and cottage cheese can all make a great meal or snack.

    I love my garden, but this time of year, even with a hoop house/green house, my garden isn’t producing a lot. I just remembered an easy way to garden, especially in the winter: SPROUTS! All you need is a jar and some seeds. Soak them in water overnight, put a cloth over the top of the jar with a rubber band and drain the water out. Water them twice a day and in less than a week, you have a jar of sprouts. I’m hovering over mine now, encouraging them to grow!

    Elizabeth Allemann

  72. anna March 4, 2013 at 7:15 am #

    i. followed your talk on Lisa Garrs Aware Show. Fantastic i loved it. first id heard of you. great work , simple easy effective . family dinners a huge yes ours is every sunday evening . even when some of us away calls are made while we are around the table . those meal times always begin with a prayer of thanks for our food ,,our day, our time together. .i have noticed…we are all making wiser choices with what we put on the table and how food and drink is affecting us..i ordered your package from the aware show…..very much looking forward to receiving…i have a fitness community who i will be sharing all the information with… thank you yours in good health and wellbeing anna..

  73. Glenda March 4, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    I agree…our society has fooled us into believing a LOT of things! Not only about food, but also about the way we live. My husband recently suffered congestive heart failure. This was a huge eye opener! We are both only 50 years old (this seems very young to us!). Among his physical ailments are an enlarged heart (due to sleep apnea and hard living), high cholesterol, appendicitis, and borderline diabetes. We were both working full time when his heart failure occurred. This did not leave us much time for food preparation and planning. We simply fixed what was quick or went to a restaurant. With my husbands obvious need for diet change (not to mention the benefits it would have on my son and I), I chose to leave my full time job (for part time work) so I could create the life changes we would need at home. I have had the time I need to plan and prepare healthier food for us and the added benefit (no small order!) of much LESS stress on me, which has greatly improved our relationships, too! I have the time I need to take care of the small things that tend to add up and create unnecessary stress! Plus my husband is no longer a borderline diabetic. He has more energy (and we are working with doctors to get his heart healthier), and he just LOVES coming home to food that has been prepared. Not only is it tastier, but healthier!! Our society is working itself to death, when that means we do not have the time to prepare what is good!

  74. Michele - The Diet Myth March 4, 2013 at 3:24 pm #

    Wow, what a great article. Obviously you have stimulated a passionate discussion. The important thing to remember is that families (parents) get “stuck” in a rut with their cooking or lack of cooking. If they don’t break the cycle then they are destined to accept microwaved and take-out as the “norm”.
    I’ve worked with several families who literally needed to learn how to cook the basics. I’d start with frozen brown rice and cooked chicken sauasge, add some frozen veggies – therefore arriving at a “home cooked” dinner. But was it really cooked? No, but it was a step in the right direction.

  75. June March 9, 2013 at 5:43 am #

    Great article, Doctor, and a great initiative,
    As an American in Norway, I can tell you that one reason Norwegians are more healthy overall is probably because there are not as many opportunities to eat out (in most areas), and restaurants are very expensive. When an ordinary large pizza at a restaurant costs the equivalent of $40-50 dollars, and that is a cheap restaurant, eating at home becomes a necessity. However, I still cringe to see the number of processed products arriving on Norwegian grocery shelves – more each year. Still, at least here, a simple can of cooked beans does not include high fructose corn syrup. Then we have the anomaly: Heinz ketchup in the US has HFCS and Heinz ketchup in Norway does not. Can the US adopt EU standards? In fact, HFCS is much less in evidence here, and is part of the real problem, biologically. Can you or we do something to change that?
    I

  76. Joe May 13, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

    I wish Dr. Mark Hyman can sponsor or put light on a very good horticultivist, planter, gardener… who know the cheapest ways of growing food… simply because of the many years of experience he/she has put into it. I’ve been trying to make my own compost from SOME things you throw in the trash, as I heard there are some things you can throw in there, like banana peelings. I want to know more. I REALLY want to grow and I am afraid of getting too lazy and “important, happy, and careless)” to really care about growing, when it’s so awesome to do!

    If only simple stuff like that was easy, I could also ask if Goji and Acai can be grown in temperate climate like Louisiana.

  77. Johnd985 June 28, 2014 at 8:00 pm #

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