Although, in the past four months, we've made it farther than we've ever been.
Looking back, we should have made it our goal to do 100% way before now, because the original goal of 75% just kept the junk in our house, that we then fell back into way too easily. And the cycle of junk---detox---mostly healthy----junk---detox----mostly healthy---would come again and again and again.
I'd say we're at 90% of eating the way we should now, rather than 75%----but we still have those occasions where we eat out or have treats, where 100% eludes us still.
At home, however, we're finding our groove for healthy. And by healthy I mean:
1. Sugar, other than natural like fruit and coconut sugar or maple syrup, is not a part of our diet.
2. Gluten products are a very minimal part of our diet at home.
3. Dairy is minimal, though Miraclegirl still has yogurt and goat's milk and an occasional cheese sandwiche. But gone are the days of sour cream and cheese with everything from soup toppers to omlettes.
4. Smoothies, home-made granola bars, dried snacks like kale chips, nuts, fruits, and veggies with hummus, are the snacks around here. If we do have processed stuff, it's gluten free pretzels or crackers or Annie's Bunny Grahms.
Even for a family that has eaten pretty healthy the past few years (treats only on the weekends, regular smoothies, staying away from donuts and baked goods and chips as a regular item on our grocery list) this transition has been painful and miserable.
I want to tell you it's easy and fun and "just set your mind to it and you'll find you're doing it in no time!" but in the spirit of keeping it real, I can't tell you that. It's difficult and at times, you wonder if it's worth it.
However, when I step back and look at the grand scheme of things, it is worth it. It's worth it, because the health issues that prompted the switch several years ago, have become more complicated in the past year as my children have been affected by poor health.
For Bubbles it's been chronic ear infections. Antibiotics every 6 - 10 weeks for the first 15 months of his life. The last round in April was three different antibiotics, one which caused severe vomiting.
Miraclegirl often gets hit hard with stomach bugs and a preschooler vomiting is just one of the saddest things ever. She also often has colds and complaints of headaches and stomach aches are an almost daily occurrence.
For me it's been some serious digestive issues that have actually frightened me in the form of unusual bleeding, worsening asthma and allergies by the year, and overall fatigue and exhaustion when in the past, energy abounded.
Handsome is still on his own diet while gone during the day. I've tried the packing food thing but I've often found it not eaten so I'm kinda given up on that one. When he is home however, his options are healthy ones.
Miraclegirl has had the roughest go of this transition, being a 4 1/2 year old sugar/processed food addict. Her taste simply does not enjoy natural foods closer to the top of the food chain. More on that in a minute.
Some days I have wondered, "Why the heck are we doing this?" The whining about what the kids can have. . . the time it takes to bake our own goodies, dehydrate kale or zucchini. . . to soak nuts or beans for another meal ahead of time. . . the money needed when shopping for the healthy stuff . . I've gotten down right grumpy about it.
This is stupid. Why are we doing this!?
Then I read an article.
Or I'm reminded of Shiloh and our future medically fragile children who will depend largely upon sound nutrition.
Or we have a week like this past two, where I do give up.
I go buy the crackers that are $2.50 a box that will last almost all week, versus $5.50 a package that lasts two days and the snacks already made that are so much easier to grab and go during our busy summer schedule. And I eat the foods I've missed like cheese and pasta and give foods to the kids that they gobble up rather than whine over.
Then I notice both kids are sneezing up a storm. And their pale skinned faces are showing dark circles under their eyes. Which concerns me for Bubbles ears' sake. And Miraclegirl is once again telling me her tummy hurts and yet, at the same time is exceptionally emotional and hyper.
Oh. my. hyper. . . !
And I eat at Olive Garden and within ten minutes of being in the car, am sucking the inhaler because I'm closing up after the oh-so-yummy-cheesy-gluten filled alfredo.
And it is yummy.
Processed, dairy, gluten foods are delicious.
But they aren't the best foods for our bodies.
They mess our bodies up.
In just one short week.
So yesterday, down I sat again. Trying to come up with snacks that might appeal to the kids--and me.
As I sat outside before the family woke up, I found myself
1. His guidance
2. Even His help in giving us a desire and taste for the right food.
In some ways this is a battle of the flesh. This past few weeks, the foods we allowed back in? We overindulged in them. We ate when we weren't hungry because it tasted good and we ate past full for the same reason.
We just do not eat that way when it's healthy foods. When we eat healthy foods, I find we are eating for sustenance not entertainment. And while we mentally miss the processed, yummy foods our bodies--and emotions--are better on the healthy foods.
In an effort to help Miracle with this, as she is having the hardest time
(and by that, I mean she has literally cried over the lack of foods she is not able to eat and has even made herself gag and throw up when served healthier options)
We have come up with two things that have helped her.
1. At meal times, PB&J is always an alternative option.
But, while that is her alternative, she will also be served whatever meal I have made for the family. And here, she has a choice.
Gone are the days of reheating one meal multiple times til it's eaten.
Gone are the days of making her sit there until the food is gone.
No. Now the ball is in her court and she can choose which option she wants to go with.
She can either eat 4 bites of the fixed food (of which size I determine) and earn herself a snack or two that is both mother approved and Miraclegirl enjoyed
She can refuse to eat the food fixed but realize there will be no snacks until the next meal.
She's been eating her 4 bites without tears, without gagging, without whining, without dragging it out. Given the empowerment of choice, she steels her little face, gets down her four bites, and moves on to her PB&J.
Three years of eating struggles suddenly resolved. All because I empowered her with her own choice in the situation.
I've also created the following chart for her to use.
|as we consume food in each category that day, we add a piece of the graph to mark it off|
All while teaching her about our living bodies with living cells and living foods versus non-living foods.
While her mind is beginning to grasp why we try to eat the way we are, her tongue has yet to catch up.
But then, so does mine. . .
So this chart helps her visualize the break down of the ratios of processed, sugary foods we should be eating versus the more natural, living foods we should be eating. While this is not a cure-all for her---or me!---I believe it is going to help us stay on course a bit easier and also help instill in her a broader understanding and knowledge of the right kind of eating.
I'm trying to stay this course.
Not only for the health of our family but also for the battle of the flesh eating like this combats: that of indulgence versus sustenance.
The time to instill this is now, while the kids are young. I can't imagine doing this with them as they are teens. Not given how difficult it is for this almost 37 year old.
It's a course difficult to stay on, but I have to trust that one of these days, it's going to get easier to stay dedicated to. And that the rewards are going to far outweigh the painful process.
You can find a PDF file of the above nutritional circle here.
Please, if you use this for a blog or website purposes, give credit and link back to this site as well. Thanks!