Friday, June 8, 2012

From the Archives -- Two Years Ago

I was curious about where I was at earlier in my food journey, and I found this that I posted on June 5, 2010.  Still true!

I'm going to range a little beyond just food today and wax philosophical. I've been noticing some less obvious effects of our family's positive changes in diet and exercise. We're not just going for weight loss here (good thing, because the higher-fat milk is making it a little harder to keep the scale numbers down), but also a body-spirit integration as we pay attention to what we really need and find ways of enjoying those things that will actually leave us stronger and happier.

I can definitely tell a difference in my mood when I'm eating right. We took a little overnight trip recently and I brought along a box of Pop Tarts that needed to be used up, but I noticed that I had a complete energy crash after I ate one. I thought it was just because travel is tiring, but the next day when I ate a second Pop Tart, the identical thing happened. Not that I never eat junk, but my body at this point is really really unused to white, processed food and I think it wasn't coincidence. I've begun to connect littler changes in my mood and energy with my food choices, too. Relying primarily on high-fiber beans, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains really feels good at this point. Good enough that any temptation to binge on junk is more easily curbed because I know that it will bring me down.

It also has occurred to me that my kids' behavior is probably noticeably better than it would be if they were mostly subsisting on hot dogs and cold cereal, though I don't have an in-house control group to test that theory. But my neighbor and I were discussing it and we both thought it was a reasonable conclusion to draw, that their responsibility and kindness has increased in a way that correlates with our healthy habits. (Of course I have to give a little credit to regular spiritual habits as well...)

Getting realistic, though, I find as we become healthier, my ability to share our ideas with others diminishes. I recently was discussing with a friend possible changes she could make because she really feels the need to "get a grip", as she put it, but she said she doesn't like any vegetables. We didn't really get to go into details, but I was pondering that dilemma and what answers there might be for her. And I ran up against a similar problem when I needed to take dinner to a friend or two who had new babies. What does an almost-vegetarian feed a family that I assume eats meat most nights? What can I offer them that would seem appealing to their young children, who likely have little desire to try unfamiliar foods, without a major compromise of my own habits? I used to just make "traditional" foods for those times when I had to take a meal, but we're actually in the process of cleaning out our freezers of all our industrially-raised meat and mostly only buying meat if and when we can afford some of the "real" stuff.

So I was in a quandary. I think we've stopped short of being so hard-core that no one can relate to us, but at the same time the line that I walk on those occasions of shared food takes a little more thought. My commitment to this happy union of healthy food and healthy moods, though, gets stronger all the time. I really am seeing results and feel a sense of wholeness and wellness in my family that I am intensely grateful for, despite the sometimes grueling task of keeping it all up.

So. If anyone has any great meatless dishes that they think THEIR kids wouldn't say ick to, I'm open to suggestions. I have finally found a side dish for potluck barbecues that has been a consistent winner and that falls in my narrow guidelines for price and health, so that's been a relief. I've relied on seasoned, baked potato and sweet potato wedges a number of times this season already. But how to retrain someone's taste buds from chicken nuggets to spinach? Challenging...and I'm not sure there's any shortcut or much of a success rate.

Happy eating!

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