There are a few reasons it’s time for a reset. I’ve been thinking about it for a while since I know diet plays the biggest role in the health of my family. Also, Mr. Ham said something that was kind of the last straw (keep reading). What has led to the urgency I feel in addressing this issue? Weston is sick. He doesn’t ever get sick, probably because we don’t see other kids very much. When he was younger (before the fire) I would say it probably had to do with his diet. Not only have we relaxed about food a bit, but he is an extremely picky and obstinate toddler when it comes to food now. So recently when a girlfriend brought her (tail end of a cold) sick baby over, I told her we would be fine. I would just use some essential oil blends that have been working well for us. Weston may have been fine but he decided to stick her baby’s pacifier in his mouth. So, now he is sick which in the long run I do understand is good for his immune system, but honestly…he is miserable. Up many times a night, constantly coughing, snotting everywhere and eyes half-mast. I miss my little loud/crazy/happy/squealing/baby-waking-up toddler so much! This is what he looks like the last three days.
But I want this little insane person back…
So…what do I do? I dose him with baby medication and natural cough syrup so he can sleep but I don’t feel really good about that. The best medicine I know in the entire world is food. What do we do since he won’t eat any veggies and hardly any fruits? Why won’t he eat most meals I make even when I make only what I know he likes? I’m starting to realize we have to go back to the way things were before. If Dub is going to snub even the most toddler-friendly meals, he might as well be snubbing super healthy vegetable-laden plates bursting with nutrition cause it isn’t just him who needs the medicine that is food. What was it Hyppocrates said?
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
It is time to change our diet. By diet I don’t mean ‘A diet’ of course. We don’t diet around here. But, let me tell you a few things that might make you feel better about your various slip-ups or challenges when it comes to eating well. When it came to food in the past, Mr. H. and I felt pretty good about the way we did things. We heard a TedTalk one time by a mom (regarding food these days and what is in it) and she said “I can’t unlearn this.” We would say that all the time, and I really thought it was true. But although it is true that we cannot unlearn it, it is also true that we can get lazy and not put what we know into practice. I never thought I would start buying non-organic pre-made dinners, like, EVER.
But apparently with everything that has happened in our family over the last few months I could. Granted, since our house burned down I haven’t exactly had a kitchen. I no longer have a juicer, a food processor, or a dehydrator. All of our money has gone to a new mortgage and things that you take for granted is probably somewhere in your house…like, a hairdryer or a cheese grater, so spending real $ on food has been low on the priority list.
Now, granted, I have not fallen as far as the Mr., since last night I found out that while he was remodeling our bathroom (before we moved in) he ate Jack In The Box out of convenience “like a few times.” I’m kinda grossed out. But hey, if that is your weakness and you think I’m judgy-bear over here just wait for the big reveal.
I like to choose my weaknesses. As I’ve said before on this blog, there were years where my weight went up and down, mostly because I thought soy products were healthy and THEY ARE NOT. Since switching over to real food (I will delve deeper into that in a moment) I am pretty much not fat. I mean, I’m kind of thin. Not overly thin, but my body just seems to be where it is supposed to be, which feels good. My weakness? Donut O’s from Trader Joes. I don’t have to have them. I hardly even love them. I just find that they are convenient when I don’t want to make noise making things in the kitchen, and they fill me up fast so I hardly have to eat very many. I mean, I am so lazy that when one or two children are sleeping I want to do something other than nourish myself.
What I’m trying to say is…the Bee before the fire would have scoffed at the prospect that a future Bee would eat “whole wheat” (knowing it’s probably GMO) and “sugar” donuts that someone else made. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Last night the Mr. said “I miss vegetables.” After curling up into the embarrassed crescent-moon shaped human I felt like and possibly shedding a tear (for failing my family as a wife and mother and sliding so far off course), I pulled myself together (with some encouragement from Mr. H.) and we made a plan.
I bet you’re wondering what we have been eating? Lots of potatoes, bacon, butter, and bread. I make the bread, and of course there is nothing wrong with sourdough. But when it’s basically your whole diet? Yeah. Also, I think a huge part of my issue has been how the boy who once ate anything and everything has turned into the ‘No’ child. He has been known to sit at the dinner table for hours refusing to take one bite of his food. And that is with me catering to his tastes. Needless to say, it’s time for a reset.
I’m sure you have seen the movie Fat Sick and Nearly Dead. If not, it’s on Netflix. Watch it. Well, we saw that movie long ago, along with so many awesome food documentaries revealing the BIG LIE about nutrition fed to us by corporate marketing and government corruption. We loved the movie, and now there is a part 2. We were watching it last night and we realized “Okay, we have strayed. It’s time to get back on track.” No biggie-I mean, we still eat organic for the most part, and we don’t do fast food (AHEM!), and we have good beer sometimes but we never overdo it (although once a year in December I am known to ‘overdo’ it), and we don’t bake with refined sugar…..what I’m trying to illustrate through my list of dont’s is exactly how I’ve been justifying the last few months of not eating as well as I know we should. I tell myself, everybody else eats way worse than we do and they are fine. I can put a little less effort into cooking and we will still be fine.
Part of this was survival for me, learning to manage life with a toddler and a newborn. The problem is, although it isn’t a huge deal that we haven’t been eating all the local organic vegetables and fruits we should, it will be a problem, and soon. Dub will be way less likely to get sick if his immune system is supported by his diet. Dolly too. Although, she hasn’t gotten sick with this thing Dub has, yet. Fingers crossed. So, here is the plan. I simply cannot (and don’t want to) go out and buy all the kitchen gadgets I relied upon to do the magic I did in the kitchen before. I don’t have the time, and although someday I may do all that again (I will do it all again because I love it) for now I’m going to do the bare minimum I think it will take to get us back on track.
This is where this story changes from a self-involved diatribe to one that actually has something to do with YOU.
For us this reset is not hugely complicated. We need to have a lot more fruits and veggies in our diet, and I need to do meal planning again. This will help me shop more efficiently and will enable me to depend on my plan for dinner that night rather than wait for inspiration…which never seems to arrive these days. So, produce and sprouted grains and breads. That is our big change and I promise you it is going to make all the difference. Done it before. If you also need a reset and you need to purge your pantry and begin eating in a way that will support gut-health (which is basically everything) and keep many sicknesses and long-term health conditions at bay; If you want to shed (or gain, depending on how much your body needs to balance out) a few pounds; If you want more energy, better brain functioning, and an overall emotional/life boost; THIS PART IS FOR YOU.
Because you don’t need anything special to do this, basically anyone can.
Unless you are a health nut, like I used to be, you probably have some plain old bad stuff both in your fridge and in your pantry. First, we need to get rid of all of it. I know. It’s painful to just throw money away, and if you want to finish what is in there that you just bought I get it. I am going to do that with the things I’ve opened (like some delicious harvest bagels from Traders…don’t let the name fool you, they are still made with plain old bad flour). However, we still haven’t opened some peanut butter filled pretzels and a bag of organic corn chip things…I don’t remember what they are called but we don’t need them. Trader Joes will take them back no problem. I’m going to go through a very basic list of what you shouldn’t find in your pantry.
Rancid flours-flour should be kept in the fridge or freezer anyway so it doesn’t go rancid. Any non-organic big name brand company should not be in your pantry. Honestly, the flour is way too processed and probably rancid. Rancid flour is bad bad. It is binding in the gut, way slows down digestion, and overall aids in sickness and lethargy. (WHY? Because what most people don’t know, and what a lot of doctors don’t talk much about, is that pretty much all sickness starts in the gut. If you can at least stop adding to the problem in there it is a start. At some point-soon I hope-I will do an entire post on healing your gut. I did it for the first time about 10 years ago and it changed my life. Really cleansing the gut in conjunction with changing your eating habits can quite literally change your entire life for the better.)
Replace with-whole grain flour, preferably local, next preference would be organic. If at all possible use teff, rye, spelt, and totally if possible use sprouted flours. Make sure they are non-GMO. Almond flour is a fun thing to mess around with in the kitchen, but it’s different than normal flour so be aware that baking with it will require different measurements and yield different results. Coconut flour is good too…but it makes for very dry results so requires many eggs.
Refined sugar-this is a biggie, and also one of the best ways to see major results in your life, fast. ALL cane sugar, organic sugar, brown sugar, any sugar that has been refined at all has to go. Brown sugar is just white sugar with the missing minerals (molasses) added back in, but barely. Organic cane sugar is just refined sugar. Turbinado, same same. Ditch it all. Sugar, when refined, is straight-up poison to your body. Literally, your body responds to it like it is poison. If you only use sugars with minerals still intact your body knows what to do with it and absorbs it much more slowly. Also, agave is pretty refined and although studies show it doesn’t spike blood sugar levels, it is not exactly close to it’s original state once its served up at the store-and Sally isn’t sure of it so…same with stevia. New on the market…question it.
Replace with-coconut sugar. I love coconut sugar because I can substitute it 1:1 for refined sugar in baking recipes. I love it in my coffee in the morning. Grade b maple syrup; it is deeeeelicious, can be used in so many things, and is good for you. Do not get grade A. That is refined, and you run into the same problem as with sugar. Honey. Local honey is bomb because it helps fight allergies specific to your area. Some less known and harder to find good sugars are sucanat and rapadura. Both very good for baking.
Snack-foods-Nothing wrong with snack foods if they don’t contain any of the above, or any dyes, or any ingredients you can’t pronounce, or four or fewer ingredients, and are natural AND organic, and they have an expiration date. Unless you dehydrated and preserved them yourself, you really should be darn clear what exactly they are. If you must have some snack foods and you aren’t just ready to grab a carrot or apple (as many are not, yet) choose something simple like seaweed snacks from Trader Joes, or sweet potato chips. It’s not perfect, but it’s a good transition from straight-up potato chips to where you want to go. Traders also now has Kale chips that are pretty good. Also, if you want to snack (which is basically all I do these days since I hardly sit, ever) don’t turn your nose up at taking two minutes to prepare something. What about a handful of raw almonds, some slices of an organic or grass-fed cheese, and a few slices of dried/preserved meat? All can be found in the same section at Trader Joes (notice how I totally forgot a vegetable? Baby steps…).
WHY DO I LOVE TRADER JOES SO MUCH? Because it’s a good mid-point between shopping at Wal-mart for your “food” and getting used to spending a bit more money on nutrition and shopping at your local co-op or at Whole Foods. It’s affordable, and they have some good healthy options. It’s not the best produce you can find, for sure. A lot of their organic produce tastes like cardboard, but for most people it is a good start. Also, their specific brand is non-gmo and contains no MSG. So cool to not have to stress about that when you shop.
As a side note, once you get into this you should get your organic fruits and veggies locally. The explosion of taste and flavor that comes from local and organic produce will ruin you in the best possible way.
Cans of beans and preserved foods should be in packages labeled bpa-free. Read the ingredients of everything and just plain get rid of it if it doesn’t fit all these criteria.
As far as the refrigerator goes: Many many condiments have GMO’s in them. Many are soy based. Many have Canola oil (canola oil bad). Because they aren’t consumed every day on everything I get it if you want to use them until they are gone. Buying all new condiments is spendy. But, next time you run out of mayo, soy sauce, hot sauce, salad dressing, etc. Consider buying something that is organic, and has no canola, soy, sugar, and if it does have say, soy, then specifically says non-gmo on the front. Also, I get pretty inspired when I clean my whole refrigerator. It makes ME feel clean, and it a good marker for changes.
Cooking oils-you have heard me harp on this before but here I go again. Don’t use canola oil. It isn’t a real food and in fact has been deemed “unfit for human consumption” but because of an agreement between Canada and the US and an exchange of lots of money, Canola oil somehow found its way into every cookbook this side of the border in a short period of time. Don’t do it. It is so bad for you. Don’t use olive oil when cooking at high temperatures because it has a low smoke point. Olive oil is great cold or in cooking with med-low heat and mixed with butter. NEVER use vegetable/corn oils.
Replace with–coconut oil. High smoke point, and super good for you. The organic virgin coconut oil we use has a coconut flavor so I like to bake with it. For savory meals I use grape seed oil and olive oil (which I mix with butter, of course). Grass-fed butter is one of the best fats alongside coconut oil. You can put coconut oil into your shakes at room temp. and eat it straight off the spoon for a lubricated gut. (Why lubricate the gut? Because poopin’ is the fastest way to rid your body of all the toxins you’ve been dumping in there for so long. The less time that stuff is in you the better.) Also, many do oil pulling with coconut oil. Look that one up. I also like sunflower oil.
FOOD-Eat fat. As in, don’t buy low-or non-fat anything. Honestly, it isn’t necessary, compromises flavor (which manufacturers know so they add in other bad things to make up for it), and if you truly want to get healthy and balance your body (which is when your body forgives you and gets back to the state in which it should live by shedding unnecessary pounds of stored fat and toxins), you need to feed it real fats. Let your body know it is safe to let old fat go because it will regularly get new fat. When buying yogurt, buy full fat yogurt that comes from cows fed a good diet and cows not ever treated with rbst. Goat milk yogurt is good too.
Drink real juice if you want juice. I mean juice with real food in it, and not from concentrate.
Get grass-fed milk if ever possible. Organic whole milk is okay. Local, raw, grass-fed would be ideal.
Don’t do non-fat. Stop it, seriously. One of the biggest ways you can begin to feel differently is to buy organic vegetables, organic/grass-fed/pastured meats, and stop eating ANY AND ALL refined sugar. Do grass-fed dairy, pastured organic eggs, and buy sprouted grain breads.
Bread-the only bread we will be eating in this home is sourdough bread I make, or sprouted bread from Trader Joes.
Salt-A friend recently asked me what was wrong with iodized salt. Here is how I see it. If we refine and remove all minerals from our salt, then find that our diets are lacking in iodine and need to add it back in, doesn’t it seem simpler and probably safer to just leave the minerals in the salt to begin with? Mineral sea salt is salt in the state in which it should be consumed. Just sea salt is okay too. But, iodized salt is refined salt with lab-made iodine added in and when it comes to iodine specifically we really should be eating it in it’s natural state since it is hard to know what is too much…and also, the less our core-diet items are refined the better.
A note on iodine-here in the northwest we are pretty lacking in iodine both in the soil and in our diets so getting some of that through the food in your diet would be a good step toward health too. Better to eat it than take a supplement of it for sure. Seaweed anyone?
Organic is a good first step for pre-packaged foods, but it doesn’t cover so much of what makes a huge difference in getting back to health. If you absolutely must do pre-packaged food, make sure it is only one or two times a week. If you struggle with convenience foods, and just don’t have time to make a lunch for work or cook anything yourself for dinner, then designate three days a week you are going to live this new way.
Or…bite the bullet and clean out your fridge and pantry and begin to replace all baking items with with real flour and real mineral sugars. Replace junk snacking with healthy snacks. Only eat the real dairy, real meats, and real vegetables and fruits that I have talked about here. The thing about eating real food, once you have purged your body of the refined sugar addiction that basically everyone has (because refined flours are also sugar), is that it actually tastes SO MUCH BETTER, is so much more satisfying, and makes you feel so much happier. Not just because you feel/look good but because it is what we were actually created to eat. That guy up there is pretty smart.
And to start this reset off, in this house we have decided to juice for one week. Obviously, juice will just be something added to Dub’s diet, but I have a feeling it will help to reset him too. We are going to borrow a juicer, and we have borrowed my mom’s Vitamix until now for berry smoothies during this transition. I’m not positive how juicing will affect my milk-supply for Dolly but here is how I see it. Since what I need in order to make good milk for her is nutrients, wouldn’t juicing be perfect in the short-term? If we do it for one week I can’t imagine it is bad. I’ll look into it before I start, but the missing ruffage from my diet shouldn’t affect her milk…right?
If you don’t have access to a juicer, implementing some of these changes really could be enough for most people. We just want a reset for our tastebuds too. Again, go see Fat Sick and Nearly Dead 1 and 2 if you haven’t. It’s inspiring even for those of us that think we know all about nutrition.
As I type this I can see that I have a bit of a belly protrusion happening. With Weston, four months out I didn’t have this much of a belly. At that time I was eating sprouted grains and lots of vegetables. No pre-packaged snacks really at all, and pretty much entirely organic. I know they say it’s hard on your body especially after multiple babies but I know what the problem is. I can sit back and accept the fact that my body just “changed a bit” after having babies, or I can be an active participant in my health and the health of my little family. If you are eating as above, you get an adequate amount of physical movement every day, and you still have as much fat as Dolly…
Then more to love is exactly how your body is made!
Never one to back down from a challenge, here we go into the land of real health once again. I’ll keep you posted on energy levels, sicknesses, and baby-bumps-without-the-baby.