Yeah, some convenience foods make sense and canned pumpkin and tomatoes are just that. I go by time/value. I can cut up a pumpkin and cook it down. I can can tomatoes. I can make my own coconut milk. But it's just as easy (and relatively cheap) to buy those items.
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Not to mention canned tomatoes almost always taste better then fresh ones from the store! (Now my home grown and farmers market tomatoes were pretty darn awesome but store tomatoes? Might as well eat wax!)
I am amazed at the sheer number of folks (even here in farm country) who simply don't know how to cook, no matter the way they missed that bit of practical education.
I am a SAHM, but have a disabled daughter (with wicked food issues) we commute to therapy with, at least twice weekly, to a neighboring city, which means I have a kind of part-time job. Another daughter is a dairy-allergic celiac. My oldest and I are sensitive to artificial food additives. And I am not independently wealthy (food budget). All that means I have to cook fresh from home a lot.
My folks both were cooks. Their ingredients were crappy (white bread, margarine, jelly, canned vegetables, canned fruit cocktail... the whole SAD thing), but they made soups and stews and baked homemade pie crust and cookies and lots of other stuff, so I did get a cooking education, if not an education in nutrition.
I made sure my four kids were in the kitchen from the very beginning. First I was concerned with taste education: whole, fresh foods first, junk almost never. Then we went into actual cooking skills, along with shopping skills. Today, I leave chores for my oldest two on the dry-erase board that say something like this: roast 2 chickens at 5 p.m. Make guacamole. Bake bread (from scratch - my oldest does that, not the celiac; and my family isn't Primal, just me...). Prep fresh broccoli. And it all gets done. Yeah, three of the four are homeschooled, and that helps with the time thing.
My girls are growing up with the same food education, but are naturally turning out differently from one another just due to personality differences, so to that poster who has the 19YO who only eats WalMart crap, don't take full responsibility for that one - could just be her. My first is an incredible baker, but really doesn't like to "cook", for example, much to my chagrin, even though she loves to EAT whatever anybody else cooks. At least she will be an educated eater.
I am also a supporter of mealtime with the family. Barring episodes of emergencies and "life" stuff that happens to all of us, if you can't manage to get the family together for dinner - a from-scratch dinner - your priorities are out of whack.
We make projects of making stuff like pumpkin pie from fresh pumpkin, and grinding flour, and everything else, just so we all know how it is done - my personal thing - even though we don't do this constantly.
Like Primal123, I relish my label as the weird-food lady. Better than being at the mercy of Kraft...
Maybe like some kind of awful Darwinian natural selection, Primal-paleo-ancestrals will be the last ones standing after everybody else has expired from the diseases of civilization. Sometimes I think of that. Don't wish it on anybody, but I do think of it, when I wonder how the hell humanity has managed to survive through millennia without 100-calorie-packs and heart-smart margarines and calcium-added orange juice drinks and Flintstones vitamins...
I think there's a distinct difference between the types of convenience foods. For the person who hates chopping, if getting pre-cut lettuce or salad packs gets them to eat veggies, that's great! While my great grandmother's tomato sauce took days to prepare, one generation later, my grandmother used canned chopped tomatoes and tomato paste. It still took a whole day because of all the meats, etc. she put in it, but to her, those canned tomato products were such a time saver. Her granddaughter uses frozen veggies because I'm a one person family, and my alternatives are to use frozen or shop every day for fresh. I've thrown away too much fresh produce over the years to not use frozen for some things.
But, when you get into things like enchilada dinners (which are really delicious when you're stoned), or any prepared dinner, you're getting into additives. Pre-made toasts are jaw droppingly weird and make me go, "hmmm..." Veggies that come with sauces so all you have to do is pop them in the microwave seem to be over the top, and while I've never read the labels, I'm guessing there's a lot of crap in those.
So, I think it's all about ingredients. If you look, and your canned tomatoes have ingredients: tomatoes, you're doing nothing harmful. If you look at something like tomato sauce, and the list of ingredients has things like canola oil and chemicals, then you'd be choosing convenience over healthy. Not a great choice if you can help it. And we almost always can if we just rethink things.