Hello there, long time no talk. I’ve been laying low on the personal posts, and mostly have only taken the time to post business related updates. It’s time for some refreshing news, so right now- I want to talk about food!
Our household has been going through some long overdue nutrition and eating habit changes in the last couple of months, and I can NOT tell you how happy this makes me.
To give you some background, in my years growing up in Holland, my mom tried buy organic foods as much as the budget allowed, we went to the farmers market every single week to get our produce, and every meal was home cooked and enjoyed at the table with the rest of the family. So even though I may not have necessarily always copied this exact great examples of how food should be bought and enjoyed, it’s always been a goal of mine.
And then I moved to America.
I was 18 so though I had a significant set of core values and intentions, they were still far from being nailed down, and I got swept up by the world of fast, cheap & convenient foods. There were several reasons for the intrigue some of which were 1) I no longer had a mom in my house reminding me to eat my veggies. 2) It’s the AMERICAN thing to do- right! I’d grown up seeing about this in movies and tv, I simply had to indulge. 3) At 18, I just simply didn’t think about unimportant things such as consequences and possible reasons as to HOW fast & convenient food could be so cheap, and WHY you’d want to buy fresh if you can just pick up a few boxes of hamburger helper and a bottle of SunnyD and have a meal in less than 10 minutes. Welcome to my new home!
Thankfully I have always had a fairly overactive metabolism so while I did gain weight as a result of this new lifestyle, it wasn’t nearly as much as I could have. Despite that, my ‘employers’ at the time took notice fast (these were my modeling days) and started demanding astronomical amounts of weight loss in ridiculous small windows of time, but that’s a whole other novel for another time. But the seed was sewn, consequences were recognised and I thought that maybe, possibly visiting Denny’s for breakfast, Taco Bell for lunch and Betty Crocker for Dinner and mocha-frappa-java-chinos for coffee in between were not the most nutritional way of life.
I guess at that time I tried to be a little more conscious about our food, visited the farmers market once in a blue moon, the produce section in the grocery store for a minute every trip, and home cooked meals happened a little more frequently than before. But we still very much indulged in eating out, eating fast, and getting much of the ‘convenient’ food in the grocery store isles. I thought ‘why not!’. And that was probably the key right there. Why not?
‘Why not’ is exactly what’s finally made the change for me and the eating habits for our family. I have been learning exactly ‘why not’ after listening to friends who have been knowing ‘why not’ to eat crap with a novel worth of unrecognizable ingredients on the packages for a long time. And by reading a very informative book called “Fast Food Nation“, and starting to see what’s been happening to America’s food supply. And you know how it is, once you are tuned in to something new, more and more information just comes at you, and your eyes are opened wider every day.
So over time I started to see the good reasons behind buying organic, buying fresh, buying local and even the taking the time to eat together, one of the seldom times in a day a family has to connect!
However again, these new found wisdom and actions were still largely counteracted by fast food meals. I couldn’t help it- I love fast food! I love to not cook every day! I love cheap stuff!
Then it became a possibility that our son Nolan had a gluten allergy. He was diagnosed with autism at the age of 5, and I went on a reading frenzy to find out exactly what, how and why. Don’t get me wrong- Nolan is considered ‘high functioning’ in the autism spectrum, it mostly only affects his school work and peer relationships at this point, and I wouldn’t change ANYTHING about him- I just want to know if there are things we can do to help him along.
As I heard and learned more about autism, food allergies kept coming up too. I was intrigued, and coupled with Nolan’s digestion issues we though there was a possibility many of his difficulties may be eased by cutting gluten out of his diet. So we gave it a shot, and interestingly enough, over time it seemed to have noticeable effects on both his digestion issues, and his presumed autistic behaviors!
Then the more I thought about it (we are having Nolan tested for food allergies this summer, to see if there is any truth to our food allergy suspicions) and the more I heard and read about food allergies (which by the way are most often triggered by the most basic of basic foods people have been eating since the beginning of time; eggs, wheat, peanuts, dairy, etc!) I figured it just had to be related to this junk (with ingredients that are practically coming out of someone’s laboratory instead of off a field) people have been eating more and more in the past few decades.
Then the one documentary that finally put an end to it all for me was Food Inc. It just showed me everything I needed to see about the way people are being conned into growing, selling, buying, and eating manufactured and engineered foods that are nicely growing other people’s bank accounts. For me the greatest and most compelling line in it was a farmer explaining how every time a grocery shopper buys an item in the grocery store, they are essentially voting for the types of food they want farms to grow. That’s all I needed to hear. I stopped buying food because their price was enticing yet their ingredients list mind boggling, and started buying foods that are the best possible choice for my family, our health, but also still our budget.
So basically this is what my new grocery shopping rules/system comes down to:
Every week I get a box of fresh local and/or organic veggies and fruits delivered to my front door (I LOVE Papa Spuds).
For everything else I mostly stick to the grocery stores that have a habit of mostly selling organic & natural foods and processed foods with minimal additives. (Since we are on a budget I love Trader Joe’s for this. If money weren’t an issue I would shop at Wholefoods)
And I ALWAYS look at the ingredients of anything I buy anymore. I have to anyways to make sure there is no gluten, but while I am looking I make sure there is not high fructose corn syrup hiding up in there, or anything else that I don’t recognize. The fewer ‘lab’ ingredients the better.
And the result? Amazing! Energy is through the roof, we feel better, are healthier, don’t crave junk much or at all! And the pounds are flying off! That last bonus was very much an unintended side effect, but it makes perfect sense-right!
And that’s pretty much it. Opposite to my first belief we spend roughly the same amount of money on groceries every week- even though I am reaching for the more expensive ‘organic’ groceries, I am also buying less fringe junk. And since I have lots of fresh foods to get through in a week I am cooking pretty much every night, so we are spending a LOT less in eating out to boot. And as a side note about eating out; since I am so hyper sensitive now about where my food comes from and what is in it, eating out becomes a lot less appealing, who knows where they get their stuff? Yet another budget booster!
As you can tell, I can keep talking about this for another hundred miles, so I will do everyone a favor and keep it at that. I think the thing that is just keeping me all atwitter about this is that I get it, and I want you to get it, and you, and YOU! I want no one to be manipulated anymore by big money-sweating corporations who are deciding what is going into your shopping carts and bellies, while you watch your energy go down, and your pants size expand, and your bodies reject the most basic foods out there. I have (FINALLY!) seen the light, and I hope everyone else can too.