We didn’t plan to change our food lifestyle. It wasn’t something we talked about and discussed and decided gradually. No, it happened all at once, and it wasn’t a mutual decision, to be honest. Clay talked with a friend, learned that healthy eating habits could possibly heal his stomach and avoid surgery, and bam! He did a cannonball right into the deep end. I, on the other hand, wasn’t even ready to stick my pinky toe in.
It took several weeks, several “discussions,” and several tears, but we finally came to a meeting of the minds and were able to work together to figure out how to lead our family to healthier eating habits. The journey has been enlightening.
I’ve learned that:
** it’s healthier for your body when you grate your own cheese instead of buying it already shredded because there are additives in shredded cheese to keep it from sticking together. Unfortunately, it’s more dangerous for your digits to do it this way, as I learned when I accidentally shredded my thumb along with the cheese.
** baking bread and rolls from scratch is healthier for your body, and great for your biceps, triceps, forearms, and any other muscle in your arm as you knead. And knead. And knead. And knead.
** children who aren’t accustomed to seeing their parents eat healthy will be concerned for said parents at first: “Dad! You’re eating leaves!”
** children who are having their eating habits changed for them will be excited at first, especially if you put the healthy food on a stick, which somehow makes it more exciting: “We had grape-a-ma-bobs for lunch!”
** grocery shopping while you’re still trying to figure this out will take twice as long, cost twice as much, and end with a throbbing headache. “Hang on, kids. I have to read the ingredients of 32 more cereals to find the one that has no Red 40. You guys just stand still and be good and then we’ll do it again for the next 54 items on the list. Aren’t you glad it was your turn to shop with Mommy today??”
** you may think you finally found a workable compromise between buying all organic (waaay too expensive) and buying all regular (waaay too full of additives) when you narrow it down to: avoid high fructose corn syrup and Red 40. Then you realize that probably 95% of what you’ve been buying has one or both of those ingredients. Seriously? Red 40 in biscuits??
** most people will not understand what you are doing, or why. “So what diet did you say you’re on?” “Not a specific diet, just trying to eat as healthy and natural as possible.” Or, “Oh, are you still on your diet?” “Well, I’m not really on a diet. Just trying to eat as healthy and natural as possible.”
** there is a direct correlation between the number of ingredients in a food and its price. But not the way that makes sense. Seems like adding a bunch of chemicals would make a product cost more. But it’s the products with only food in them that are double and even triple the price.
** and, related, almost all the coupons and deals are for the foods you no longer buy. I’m still in a mourning period.
** one person’s food choices are in no way an indictment on another person’s food choices, but it feels that way. When Clay changed his eating habits, I felt judged. I don’t know why this is so. Maybe it’s similar to the reason why people constantly feel compelled to explain to me why they don’t homeschool or why they only have two children. Somehow, even if someone does nothing to actively criticize our choices, we can feel condemned when we see them making different choices. Why is this??
** your kids who were so excited at first will soon begin grieving the lack of Scooby Doo Fruit Snacks and Lucky Charms in your house. And they grieve vocally. Loudly. And somehow, real fruit leather strips or non-GMO Kashi fruit-filled shredded wheat don’t quite convince them that you are not depriving them of a basic right of childhood.
** on the flip side, you will marvel at the same kids happily choosing carrot sticks and cashews to go with their natural-peanut-butter-and-all-fruit-jelly-on-all-natural-whole-grain-bread instead of chips and cookies as in olden days. They will flat attack a bag of organic apples or grapes, too.
** the bargain hunter in you will cry tears of joy when you realize that Kroger heard of your dilemma and created a whole line of natural and organic store-brand products just for you. “Simple Truth Organic” will become your new favorite phrase.
** and finally, that it really can make a difference. Most notably at our house–no surgery for Clay!! This was probably a result of the combination of prayer and medicine as well as healthy eating, but healthy eating certainly played a part. And, less drastic but still exciting, I’ve lost 8 pounds so far!!
So we’re still rookies. We still have a lot to learn, compromises to make, and changes to implement. But every day is a learning experience as we try to be good stewards of the bodies God has given us.