September 23, 2013

Our Food Journey - an Update

Some of you asked about our food journey and how we're doing.  If you don't know what we're talking about you can go back and read these posts (1, 2, 3, 4).  In a condensed form, we've tried to cut out processed foods and refined sugar while eating lots of fruits, veggies, and whole grains.  We go light on the dairy and meat, but we don't exclude them.

So where are we at?  We're still chugging along well.  When we made these changes I didn't plan on making the temporarily.  I didn't commit to it until I was ready to make it a life-long commitment.  I have a pretty strong will.  I also think it's important to note why I wanted to make these changes and what drives me to keep them.  As women, it's so hard to eat right for the right reasons.  It's so tempting to do things because you want to wear a certain dress size, but I think we can be more successful if we have a greater desire than that.

When we changed our food I was pregnant and weight loss wasn't a driving force.  I wanted to have more energy and I wanted to see how my body would feel if I really gave it the foods it needed.  I didn't expect to loose weight at the time.  However, I finished the pregnancy at a lower weight than when I began it.  It also made weight loss after having the baby fast, though my body really likes nursing and that helps too.  I feel like I can keep up the way we eat because it makes me feel so good and I really want to take care of my body.  If I want my body to do all I expect of it, I need to be good to it.

For having a baby that still doesn't sleep through the night, I feel like I have WAY more energy than I remember having with my other two babies.  I also think I feel happier.  It's kind of funny, but I think you can have a great confidence from eating well NOT because of the size of your clothing, but just because you are making good choices and you know it.

The boys still whine about veggies at times and ask for sugar, but I don't expect that to ever change.  They are kids.  We do let them have treats.  We try not to restrict them too much because we don't want them to feel deprived or bitter.

So what about the food we are eating?  To be honest, I feel like I go in a three week cycle.  I find new things and try out recipes.  I love our eating and I'm feeling great.  Then after a few weeks I start to hit a wall where I'm sick of the stuff we're making and I'm hungry and I need new ideas.  That's the part when I have to work a little harder to find some new options, but once I do I'm happy again.  I enjoy the challenge of finding new dishes and new veggies in general, but when I need to grocery shop and I'm hungry I find that challenge to be less fun, for sure.

At the beginning of the summer I bought a bread maker.  So, we're grinding our own wheat and making our own bread now.  My husband still juices, but we try to do veggie juices and not a lot of fruit juices.  I'm on a brussel sprout kick right now and I love homemade salsa.

I like to find healthier ways to eat the foods I love.  Like instead of ordering pizza, I might make my own wheat crust along homemade pesto and then add garden tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.  It's a whole lot healthier, but still really yummy.

It all does take a lot of time, but I feel like I'm more used to that now.  I expect to spend time cooking.  And yes that means other things have to give.  I'm spending less time blogging.  I don't have a lot of responsibilities at church right now.  However, cooking is something I can involve the boys in, which I like.  Baden loves to help me bake and I think the boys are more likely to try and eat new foods when they take part in the preparation of it.

Now, I wanted to mention one last thing that I really believe is important to making all of this work.  I believe it's important to make some exceptions.  I don't think it's wise to say you'll never have a piece of chocolate cake again.  I could never do that.  I would go crazy.  Sometimes we still eat out.  Sometimes I eat chocolate or have dessert.  As I mentioned, we let the boys have some candy.  I think it's essential to still enjoy those things at times, just in moderation.

A couple of you asked for tips on where to start on your own food journey.  It's definitely a process and there's so much to learn.  I have a lot to learn myself, but here are a few things I would recommend:
  • Try not to focus on what you can't eat or how you want to restrict yourself.  Just see if you can squeeze in more veggies and fruits than you used to eat.  I think just eating more veggies gives you a lot more energy.
  • Be flexible with yourself and with kids if you have them.  Like I said, you can't promise you'll never have chocolate cake again and you shouldn't even try to promise that.  
  • Realize that you will spend more time in food prep.  Try to make a little more time for it.
  • Try new recipes.  Pinterest is an awesome source ideas.  Whenever I feel like I'm hitting a road block I get on Pinterest to find some new recipes.  Keep a log of the ones you like.
  • Research.  Learn about what's in the foods you're eating.  The more you learn the better choices you can make.
  • Look how far you've come.  I never liked to cook and there are many veggies I had never even tried.  It's been fun to push myself and take on new interests.  You might find a new hobby in it all.
  • I know this sounds very cheesy, but love yourself.  I think that's essential to making good choices (whether it's food-related or not).  Do it because you want to be happy and you want to be good to yourself.
If you have questions, I'm more than happy to answer them.  The past food posts might have some answers as well.  I hope this info is helpful in some way.  Like I said, we have a lot to learn and figure out too.  Thanks for reading.


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