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.


Anonymous said...

Hey Cheri! I'm reading your blog for two years now and I find it very inspiring. I have a son of ten months, I sew and I do my best in healthy cooking, so many of your ideas really fit me. :)
Concerning the struggles you mentioned I wanted to tell you about something we have here in Germany. It's called "the green box" and it's a service delivering vegetables, fruits and dairy; both ecological and regional. Is that eventually available in the US, too? people here love it for two reasons: the eco-regio-thing and the task to make food from what was in the box.

btw: The "About Me"-category doesn't mention Elsa yet. ;)

toria said...

thanks for sharing!!

Jennifer Sharpe said...

That pizza looks really good! My husband and kids are so picky, but we could do better with our choices for sure. I think the hardest part would be the extra time it takes to prepare everything. Thanks for sharing, you guys are doing awesome!

Stacy S said...

Hey Cheri. I love your blog and I love that you posted this food journey update today. We are also making permanent changes in our diet/lifestyle and I had a question. I have a 2 month old baby and was wondering if you found your diet impacted Elsa at all since you are also nursing. I'm not sure if it is coincidence, but it seems like since changing our diet last week to include more veggies and beans my daughter has been more gassy. Any thoughts since you are also nursing? I too feel like I have WAY more energy with my 3rd child than I ever did after having the first 2!

Kaitlin Jenkins said...

Thanks for this awesome post! My husband and I are in about the same place as you. We still let ourselves have those not so good things every once and awhile and we've just ramped up the fruits & veggies (mostly by juicing) and eating huge dinner salads with added proteins. We're feeling so much better which truly is the point and keeps you motivated to keep it up :) So impressed at the ways you're leading your sweet kiddos on a healthful journey!

Unknown said...

Hi Cheri! Welcome back! Congratulations on having your beautiful little girl! Thanks for sharing all your creative ideas. Your food journey really interests me. My biggest hang up is what to feed the kids. While we do not just give them a ton of the typical kid junk food (nuggets, mac n cheese, etc) and my family all eats the same meals, my kids are still reasonably picky. They particularly turn their noses up at a lot of veggies. I also have a husband that likes to have (lean) protein in every meal. Also what do you feed your kids when you are on the go or packing school lunches? Portability and convenience becomes such a big deal in choosing food. Thank you for sharing your experience.

Laura at Ms. Smartie Pants said...

Last week I went on a food challenge, it was to eat only $4.50 worth of food each day, it was an effort to understand what those who live on food stamps might experience. It was a little difficult to get in veggies, as they are expensive, but I mananged. It made me get out of my box of fixing the same things over and over. It was an interesting experiment. Good for you guys sticking to your guns, it sounds like you are adjusting well. Have you tried the roasted brussel sprouts on Pinterest? As a matter of fact I love all of my veggies roasted now, add in a little pesto and wheat pasta and you have a great meal! Check out my board Eat it, for some yummie ideas, it's under Ms Smartie Pants.

Unknown said...

How long does it usually take for something like Brussels sprouts and other gas producing veggies to be ok with little Elsa ?? I think it is so great that we are all moving back to the way our parents or grandparents fed their families. Did you find that it was easier to jump in full force or keep adding new things ??

Dawn said...

What is that in the last picture?

Amanda said...

I have been very curious if you have noticed a difference in your boys behavior? I can only imagine without all the sugar and junk that it might help with tantrums and other things. Your journey is inspiring! I love hearing about it. And I have 2 boys and am pregnant with a girl :)) You gave me hope that having a girl was possible.

iammommahearmeroar said...

It's hard to tell, since I've been eating this way for 9 months now. She's actually been my least gassy and least likely to spit up baby. The boys both were kind of reflux-y and gassy and I always tried to figure out what I was eating that caused it. It was never easy to figure out. I think less dairy seems to help. However, Elsa hasn't been bad so I'm not sure what to say. Hmm...

iammommahearmeroar said...

Those are great questions. I feel like the boys get better as they experience more food. Eventually they find healthy things they like. Baden loves hummus, carrots, any fruit, and anything baked. When I pack Rex a lunch I usually pack a few of the following: a fruit, plain Greek yogurt with a little honey on it, wheat crackers (like Triscuits, but the Back to Nature brand), water, carrots, a peanutbutter and honey sandwich on wheat, etc. On my interest food board I pinned something with lots of lunch ideas that might be helpful to look at. Kids do make it all trickier :)

iammommahearmeroar said...

I haven't really had gassy problems with Elsa, which has been great. For us, I think it was easiest to jump in pretty full force, but at the same time it's a process. When I run out of ideas then I have to spend some more time researching and finding recipes so that we can keep this all up. Eventually I hope to have a huge binder full of recipes we love that we can keep coming back to.

Stacy S said...

Thanks for your insight!

Tori said...

I have been making the same journey and hit the same road blocks with food. Now that it is cooling down I've been cooking a lot more soups. Its great....the kids don't feel quite the same, but that's o.k. Keep up the good work.

iammommahearmeroar said...

CONGRATS on your upcoming girl! I'm not sure if I see a huge difference in the boys' behavior. I haven't thought about it that much, but I'm sure a lot of sugar would makes things a lot harder around here :)



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