I’ve picked up a few things regarding health and nutrition that have completely changed the way I see food. Granted, I will probably come back to this post in the future and laugh at myself for any number of erroneous statements. But I am learning. Not that I chose this for my life. Heck to the no! I liked being able to buy a frozen lasagna for dinner or drive through the Mickey D’s for lunch. HoneyNut Cheerios with 2% milk is a healthy breakfast, right?
Turns out not all food is created equal. And that the American diet is killing us off. I could go into controversial topics. I could talk about corn being genetically modified past its existence as a food and into mad science territory. I could talk about the acidity of our beloved processed foods and the things the human body will do to alkaline itself. I could get into the ramifications of soy and what the estrogen overload is turning us into. Since it’s in almost EVERY SINGLE FOOD WE EAT.
But I will say that dairy was turning my poor babies into oozing, weeping bundles of eczema. And all the doctors wanted to do was prescribe steroid cream after steroid cream and special baths in cleansers that were too harsh for the face but apparently not so for the rest of my tender toddlers’ bodies. Which were covered in angry red patches that ran into each other. Did I mention that?
After giving birth to Molly after Emberleigh after Levi, in a 2 1/2 year period of time, my innards revolted against me. I began to notice an number of reactions to a variety of foods and the post-baby recovery was still dragging its heels at the 1 year mark.
Really it came down to being open to learning from other people about things that I thought were ridiculous. And starting slow. If I’d jumped in with both feet, I’d be a fat, sick, lost cause right now. I limit myself to one change at a time, and merely stopped replacing certain foods when they ran out once I’d learned of their effects or discovered a healthier alternative.
I laughed at people like me. Charlottesville is full of crunchy granolas. Heaven forbid I ever! As if!
The month that I began to read the labels and forego those with any mention of soy, I lost 12 pounds. Not that I was in it for the weight loss, but I certainly wasn’t happy with the health of my entire body. Once I cut out dairy, 75% of my chronic cystic acne resolved itself. Eliminate dairy for the kids and the eczema cleared up sans medication. Throw in the 48-hour fast I endured and my seasonal and fresh fruit allergies began to lessen. And he doesn’t necessarily agree with me/believe me, but I’ve observed that Jim is less fatigued during the day now because he’s sleeping better at night. Because I make him eat healthy.
It took a huge shift in approach to mealtime. I grew up with the 4 food groups mentality: it’s a complete meal if there’s a meat, a dairy, a fruit or vegetable, and a starch. I had to learn what to eat instead of _________. Dinner used to be “what meat will we have that I can plan side dishes around?”. “Veganism isn’t good for you.” I’d heard and said it so many times. But the problem with most veganism, I’m discovering, is that if you’re vegan because you’re morally opposed to eating animal products, then nutrition isn’t the focus and probably not as balanced. It’s not that I don’t eat animals. It’s that I eat a plant-based diet. With the occasional organic grass-fed burger when I’m out on a date. And I have been known to drive by a fast food window if I’m in a time crunch with a van full of littles on the verge of mutiny. Also, who can resist the “Magic Julie Sandwich” at your local Sticks Kebob Shop. (not available in all locations under this name)
It doesn’t seem a big deal now, but if I compare our food consumption and eating habits with those of, say, 3 years ago, I’m almost overwhelmed. Until I remind myself that I did it slowly. And it’s either that or spend the additional time… indisposed…
White sugar is not allowed to cross my welcome mat.
- The amount of fruits and vegetables we eat could probably cure scurvy in an entire fleet. Every other day or so, I mill wheat and bake a loaf of bread. Coconut oil is a staple. I now know the meaning of the word ‘quinoa’. There is an entire shelf in my pantry dedicated to various varieties of beans. And I’ve learned to befriend the spice cabinet.
New is no longer wrong. Or right. I’m studying and researching. Talking to people who are knowledgeable. Adding to my store of information. Getting healthier and happier as a result. Since an additional, unexpected side effect is improved mental health.
I’m not a weirdo. At least not because of the food I eat. There are other factors to consider in that arena. I still love bacon. Eggs are actually a staple in our house. We just pay a little more for the organic free range ones. But as a whole, I try to feed my family based on what our bodies need and not what they’ve been programmed to crave.