My husband is out of town on business, which means I can’t sleep, because apparently I need a body in the bed next to me now or I just can’t sleep. Tired, two glasses of rum-infused orange juice, and several episodes of crime drama (that might actually have kept me awake, too). But nothing helped. As I was sitting up drinking my rum-oj (does that have a technical name? What goes into a tequila sunrise? haha, I’m insane. Tequila you crazy woman. Ok, moving on.) Anyway, I was looking at my drink thinking about what I had for dinner (A cheeseburger and fries from a fast food joint #confessions) and I realized I am passionate about healthy stuff–understanding foods, making real food choices, understanding how the body works and holistic treatment of my body, but when the rubber meets the road (Because I love to use aphorisms), I haven’t been putting my money and my personal life efforts behind choosing, daily, and in every moment, to be healthy.
Last night I watched “Hungry for Change” on netflix, because I wanted to prompt myself to do a 30-day juice fast like I’ve always said I would, but only managed to ever do 3-5 days of realistically…yeh, I was seeking to guilt myself into getting started on the juice fast and what happened was I found myself guilty, but not in a bad way. I was re-thinking what I have been doing to my body. When it comes to my son, I think about how his system works and I refuse that piece of cake or candy for him, and I monitor what he eats. Here in the Southern US, I have even weaned my son off the quintessential sweet tea, and he only drinks unsweet tea, with lemon. AND HE LIKES IT. These kinds of choices take discipline and commitment, but they are not really any harder than the other choices I make for him as a mom. Apparently making choices for others is easier than making those same choices for yourself. I am convicted that my daily life choices are not living out what I want my son to understand. It isn’t enough to make healthy choices for him, I have to be the good I want to see in him. I have to model what I want him to be, because as my mother has forever said, “Children will do what you do, not what you say.” I abbreviated this to say “Children will be what you are.”
In the case of my eating habits, I do not want my son to model me. Yet.
As I was getting “ready for bed” at 1 am I started musing over the “why”. Why is it that I chose fast food last night instead of eating healthy? ‘Well, because you weren’t getting home until 9pm and it was late, you were tired, and having someone else handle dinner was easier’, I answered myself. The conversation continued as I asked, “Well, was it really easier? You had to drive there, which meant you had to go out of your way on the way home. You had to sit in the drive through line for 10 minutes, and you had to stop when exiting the fast food place to make sure your son was set up in a non-mess making fashion before heading towards home again. How much harder would it have been to cut up an apple? Or to dip some carrots into some dressing? What about soup? Could you not have heated up a pot of soup? You have organic pancakes in the freezer. How hard would it have been to get them down and heat them up? How exactly are you defining “hard” and “easy”?” Maybe I need to rethink my definitions of what’s easy, I said to myself.
So today when I got up I started thinking what eating healthy would mean for my family. The first thing it means is that three meals a day would not be enough. Whenever I serve healthy fruits and vegetables, my son eats every couple of hours, and about 6 times a day. He eats 3-4 apples and a handful of raisins for “breakfast”, he’ll request a couple of bananas around 10-11 am, and then around 12-1 he will eat carrots and peas, then around 3 he will want some applesauce, and then around 5-7 he eats dinner. Most of the time, around bedtime he will want a cracker, or some more apples, which I let him have, along with some chocolate milk, because that’s what we do at bedtime. That’s not any more food than we normally eat, proportionally, but it is significantly more prep work for me. Was that extra work worth knowing your son was not consuming anything negative and was instead nutritionally sound?”, I asked myself. “Absolutely”.
So today we headed out. I had been house sitting for my mom, so we started the day swinging back by her house to pick up my rogue orange juice and two bottled juices I had left there the night before. (save money where you can, you know.) I drank coffee and talked with my mom about their trip.
Then the son and I headed to the store. They have recently built an “Earth Fare” Across the street from our regular grocery store, so today, we decided we would go organic. What can we get for our $50-100 weekly food budget that will both last a week, and be healthy? Check out our bounty.
We decided to focus on asian dishes, because they are typically based in vegetables. I am not at this time prepared to commit to food that is completely raw. I like cooked dinners, so I went asian for this week. Here’s the plan:
Fruit and coffee for breakfast. (I bought oranges, apples, and grapefruit.) One grapefruit is breakfast for me and my son, so I only bought 2 of those. We will finish off our organic eggs for breakfast a couple of days, and I really do have some frozen pancakes in the freezer, so we will finish those off this week too. That’s 7 days of breakfasts.
For lunch & dinner, I am counting on being able to eat leftovers. I am hoping to make dinners big enough that they carry over to lunch. So for dinners, we will have rice and beans (2 days), rice and peas (2 days), asian salad (1), asain noodle-stir fry (1), black bean soup (1). I also bought some avocado, onion, and tomato, so I’m hoping I can pull of a guacomole salad to serve with the rice and beans. We also bought plenty of lettuce, so hopefully we can throw that in with the rice dishes and have some heartier fare. The pediatrician (whom I asked about this little vegan adventure) said that health-wise we were fine, as long as E ate some kind of nut butter once a week to keep up his protein levels, so we will likely throw in some pbj sandwiches (peanut butter and jelly–though I don’t have peanut butter, I have almond butter–couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try something different. lol) to make sure he gets the protein he needs. Broccoli is our vegetable of choice this week, and one cup of chopped broccoli has 2.57 grams of protein so I am feeling good about that, too.
Snacks: Like I said, I plan on two snacks a day, and I definitely wanted things I could pack-and-go, so I have organic applesauce (unsweetened), carrot sticks, and apple slices. I have some honey, walnuts, oats, and bananas at the house already, too, so I’m hoping to pull off a granola of some sort, and maybe some banana ice cream.
So that’s the plan. All together, I spent about $75. For a week of groceries. That is the easy part. Now I have to stick to this plan for a week. I’m not committing to a month, and notice I’m not committing to juicing. the complete liquid detox is something I have to grow into. I want to do it. I believe in the detox process and what it can accomplish for your body. However, I also believe in food addiction and that I’m suffering from it. If I quit cold turkey from everything, I will not stick to this plan. I have accepted this fact (ever how begrudingly. I would like to be a “stronger” person, but at this point in my life I find the strength to take the small first steps is important. I choose to congratulate myself about this move. Apparently, discipline takes exercise same as your body. So I’m taking baby steps. It’s like the Couch to 5K for healthy eating. I am not focusing on how I might fail, I am also not focusing on where I might not be “doing it right” Instead, I am saying “wow, I have organic applesauce for a snack!” and “Look at us eating asian!” As I tell my son, happiness is a choice. You choose to be happy. I choose to be happy.
Some confessions about our grocery haul:
I bought “Processed” creamer for my coffee because I am trying to move away from milk, and I wanted to try this coconut milk with hazelnut. When I got it home, I discovered it has that “Natural flavorings” in the ingredient list (which can mean yucky things like beaver anal excretions), so I am not sure I will remain a fan, but I’ll keep you posted. I also bought organic milk for my coffee, because, really, coffee in the morning makes this transition easier, and I’m 99% certain that only regular milk will do. The other processed foods I bought were organic orange juice (orange juice is
my husband’s coffee. It has to happen), applesauce, and I bought some organic chocolate almond milk in little drink box form for my son. Chocolate milk is his coffee. 🙂 We are transitioning together, but I am happy with this move. I feel like committing to one week of eating smarter, with great purpose, is certainly more doable than going juice for a month. Ps. Buy yourself flowers. Happy house = happy person. 🙂 Get yourself something beautiful to look at in your home while you are making large food transitions. It sounds silly, but it helps. Really.
What about you guys? How are you and your family transitioning to healthy eating? What small “wins” do you celebrate?