Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Slow and steady...

About three years ago I finally got fed up with feeling sick all the time, and after having been told by my PCP multiple times that I needed anti-depressants for my anxiety, I was ready to try something different.

Upon the recommendation of a good friend, I went to see a chiropractor. And beyond fixing my out-of-whack alignment, she started me on a path towards much better nutrition. It turned out that my feeling sick all the time had a lot to do with my body being drained from pregnancy and nursing for 3 years straight and not eating the right foods to remain nourished.

And though I feel a thousand times better than I did when I first went to her in 2008, I still get really frustrated with myself when it comes to our family's diet. Too much sugar. Too much refined wheat. Too much junk. - A mantra that runs through my head about once a week.

But in the last month or so I've started paying more attention to how we eat and how others eat, and I finally realized that we ARE making progress.

In our kitchen, you won't find pop, potato chips or white bread. We don't buy juice (unless we're making smoothies and then I go for the most pure juice I can find.) You won't find corn syrup (not even in our ketchup or jelly). We don't buy canned veggies anymore. And I won't purchase tomatoes in a can either. We eat natural peanut butter. Whole wheat or whole grain bread. Organic apples when we can afford them. And try to only eat fruits and veggies from the "clean 15" if we can't find or afford the organic versions of the "dirty" veggies and fruits.

On occasion, you can still find crackers in our house... and we still eat corn tortilla chips... but we're doing pretty good at staying away from food that can sit on a store shelf for months and months without spoiling.

I didn't realize that our diet was different from the average family until I started paying more attention to how others eat and what others use as staples in their home. I tend to compare our diet to people like Katie @Kitchen Stewardship or my good friend Blair and think "GAH!! Why do I still have refined sugar in my house???!!"... but I've decided it's a pathway and we're still on our journey. And it is not an easy journey by any means.

Sometimes I struggle because I know there needs to be a balance. I don't want my kids to spend their childhoods without the joys of candy or cupcakes or fruit loops... but I want those things to be treats - not daily indulgences. My goal in this whole journey is to set up my kids, and Andrew and myself, for long healthy lives.

For me it really comes down to two questions:  Did God gives us bodies that are meant to fall apart and get sick all the time? Or did he give us bodies that have incredible power to heal and grow and stay healthy if we only nourish them?

I absolutely believe the latter.


  1. I can so relate, I feel like I'm not doing anything right. Then I stop and reflect on our progress and realize I'm doing pretty good. Our family is moving to a more whole foods lifestyle too. However, I plan on giving us some leeway.

  2. Diet is important - Nick and I have already agreed that there are a few things we don't want to budge on (no tv until she's two and then only Sesame Street or PBS; no computer until she needs it for school, etc) and one of them is what Alice will and will not be allowed to eat (I mean regularly, of course). And by extension, what we will not have in the house to make it easier on us all - candy (except at Grandparents, Halloween, Easter, and Christmas) soda of any kind (exceptions being the grandparents and festivities, and then we'll limit it). We've avoided corn syrup for years, although we occasionally slip up because of bad habits or inability to find something without it. All baked goods are allowed if they're from a reputable bakery or from home, but in moderation. We're not so worried about canned veggies and no juice is allowed either, even in smoothies, unless it's made at home. And we are buying as much as possible at farmer's markets for fruits and veggies too. And I make all our baby food. This has turned into a long post just to say that it's awesome what you're trying to do and good luck.

  3. I truly believe in doing what is right for each persons family. You have to make your own decisions of right, wrong or indifferent. So I applaud you for getting yourself to a place that I truly hope makes you less anxious, no one should live with anxiety.
    That said I find this sounds very much like someone trying to keep up with the Jones versus trying to make their family healthy and happy. It's something that repulses me about most environmentally concerned individuals and turns me off anytime they start opening their mouth about what's the current fad choice of consumption. White sugar might be "bad" for your family but it is NOT poison. Tons of commercial organic farmers use older, "natural" pesticides/herbicides that are more harmful for humans than their modern-commercial counterpart.
    Basically: I prefer to shake hands with my farmer instead of patting myself on the back. I don't have to compare my families diet with others feel content. Much luck with your journey, I pray you find comfort and peace.

    1. Sorry my actions to follow a healthy lifestyle repulse you, anonymous... If you want to believe I'm trying to keep up with the jones's, you're absolutely entitled to your opinion, but at least have the courage to say who you are. And, for the record this post was not meant to brag or put down anyone who isn't going granola like me. Mostly I wrote it to remind myself that Im doing okay... And we're trying to eat right... And it's not an easy way to live in the US.

    2. "I didn't realize that our diet was different from the average family until I started paying more attention to how others eat and what others use as staples in their home. I tend to compare our diet to people like Katie @Kitchen Stewardship or my good friend Blair and think "GAH!! Why do I still have refined sugar in my house???!!"... but I've decided it's a pathway and we're still on our journey. And it is not an easy journey by any means."
      My comment about keeping up with the Jones' pertains specifically to this section. This is your journey, not something for you to be beating yourself up over lusting for someone else's life.
      Could it be that I would like to remain anonymous because I thought it might help?
      As to the white sugar = poison comment, it again is sort of referenced in this section as well. If you're beating yourself up over having it in the house I assume you are feeding into the current fad that all refined sugars are poison for the body.
      That's all I have to say. In no way was it an attack on you, just a reference to look within and let go of the anxieties over the little things because you don't think you "measure up." It's unbecoming of such a strong woman.

    3. It absolutely IS AN attack on my character when you refer to my actions as repulsive and then go on to say I "lust after someone's life.". What an awful and hurtful accusation to make. And if being concerned for the well-being and health of my family is unbecoming of a strong woman, then I will never ever be the kind of woman that you think is strong. That is integral to my motherhood.

  4. I liked your response to Anon, Kristi - I write to remind myself of the good things I manage to do too, despite all my mistakes. And while I know you can defend yourself, let me just say this: Kristi didn't say white sugar was poison - I believe even she mentioned balance...

  5. Keeks - Morning note:
    1)Remember - you were excited about getting people fired up.
    2) The "repulsive" comment is totally a comment about the greater society as a whole, you just happen to fit in there.
    3)Ok, the "lusting" comment is a little bit overkill. But if you back up and read the way that you wrote it, in the whole post you are saying that you feel like you aren't doing a good enough job.
    Although I wouldn't use the word "lusting" I think Anon is just saying to give yourself a break.

    Personally, I'm glad you are feeling better. I'm still going to eat and enjoy my wheat and refined sugars. Mostly in moderation. Cause sometimes you want a grilled cheese on white bread.

  6. My only problem with people who tend to go organic, and this is a generalization in my experience, and especially with the vegans in my life, is that they tend to get preachy and holier than thou about how their way is so much better than anyone elses'. I'm glad you didn't go that way here. You changed your diet for your health and it worked out awesome. You don't seem to be saying that anyone who doesn't is destined to die a terrible death, which is the impression I've gotten from vegan friends. My family may eat lots of "crap" but we're doing ok.