As a preface to this post I have to say that I do not claim to be a genius on this subject. Although I’ve been married to a genius who has taught me A LOT the last 7 years I cannot claim to know everything.
However, I do feel strongly that my passion for this subject has led me to greatly broaden my knowledge and driven me to live a certain way. And experience is usually a great educator. So I am going to share my experience and what I’ve learned.
First, to understand a bit more maybe I can let you in on one of my dreams…..
If I had a billion dollars I would start a non profit company that made healthier ‘processed food’ options. They would be offered at a lower price so that they would be the first choice of all ranges of people. Eventually I would also start a fast food chain that offered homemade healthy choices at a lower price. My goal with these is to get nutrients down the American population who are consuming these products anyway but that are essentially void of nutrition.
You are probably thinking, ‘aren’t there already options out there like that?’ Yes there are but not to extent of what I’m thinking and not for cheap…usually when you go out to a nice healthy place it’s a bit pricier. Right? Because of that a vast majority of Americans choose the unhealthier option. This would help me sleep better at night. Knowing people who have busy lives and have to choose ‘fast’ options are at least getting good nutrients.
OK but for now since I do not have a billion dollars, I want to do what I can to help people make better choices with what we have available to us.
Let me tell you what I believe.
I believe eating healthy IS OF GOD.
I believe that when we strive to do so He will help us just as He helps those striving to follow other laws and commandments.
It’s more than just the Word of Wisdom (if you are not familiar with this LDS commandment it’s a law given to us from God about our bodies and how best to take care of them easily found in the Doctrine and Covenants Section 89). It’s about learning what that means for our day.
Back in 1833 they didn’t have to worry about processed food and diet cokes. If there were these foods I am certain they would be written in the Word Of Wisdom.
Refined and processed foods are not really food. Too much sugar is harmful and addictive. You know this. We all know this. But making it a part of who we are is a different more difficult story.
Eating healthy is often termed ‘too expensive’ and left at that but can I suggest some food for thought?! Pun intended. If you believe in a God who created you and gave you your body as a gift doesn’t it makes sense that He would encourage and help you in your quest to take care of it?! And if you don’t believe in God well then I’d love to have a conversation with you. 😉
I announce that He does. As a person steps forward with faith (and it takes a lot!) to take better care of their body they will receive divine help both temporally and spiritually. I’ve seen it.
Maybe He helps free up some of your day and makes things go a bit smoother. Maybe in way we don’t understand His hand reaches in and supports us.
My little family has been living at the poverty level for almost 7 years. My husband is finishing up his PhD and has started a business on the side. It’s been a crazy several years… one for the books and another story altogether but the point is if you looked at us based on how we ate, things would not match up. More than half our budget goes to food. The Lord has been supporting us somehow to keep up with our ‘expensive’ eating habits. Because I believe it’s important.
I believe God is on our side.
Some people would look in on our life and finances and say “You could be living middle class if you’d just cut your grocery bill and settle with what food you buy! It’s no big deal!” Well here’s the truth…to us, we’d rather stay at the poverty level than compromise our health. We know someday we wont be at the poverty level and we’d rather show up at that glorious day shining and healthy as can be!
So what do I mean exactly?! What do we do differently?
- Make real recipes for every meal. Or better than that alter the recipes I do use to make them healthier! Everything offered to us on the grocery store shelves can be homemade and is always better, not only nutritionally but in taste too. There are limits of course to what we can make depending on our circumstances for instance if you live in an apartment like we do you can’t keep cows and make your own milk and cheese products. Someday hopefully. 🙂 For now learn what a roux is make your own cream of chicken soup. Your own broth and more.
2. It means grinding my own flour and making my own bread with said freshly ground nutrient rich flour and getting rid of that worthless and probably poisonous white powder ‘they’ try to pass as flour. It’s absolutely nutrition-less and a waste of your money, space in your belly and calories. Did you know that in every way you use white flour you can use whole wheat flour? Your buds get used it quickly and eventually prefer it over the tasteless gluey white stuff.
3. It means making better choices with the things I do have to buy from the store. I’ll be doing a more comprehensive post on just this topic but for now a few examples are this Jif Natural PB and Barilla Whole Wheat pasta. The ingredient lists are short and you can pronounce everything in them. Take a gander at other pasta’s and PB’s (maybe your own pasta and PB) to see how it compares.
4. It means controlling our sugar intake. The truth is our bodies can’t tell the difference between what sugar we put in it. Honey, table sugar, high fructose corn syrup or fructose etc….our bodies react in the exact same way. Shocked? I was too. So no matter the source…just control it. Sugar is not evil. This is what I try to teach my kids…but too much sugar will start to harm you so let’s just keep it minimal and really enjoy it when we do!
5. Vegetables accompany every meal. It’s HARD teaching kids to appreciate eating healthy but it’s possible. Just like we have to teach them to sleep and use the potty we have to teach them to like and appreciate good food. Ok I can’t say they accompany EVERY meal but pretty dang close!
6. Yes! We use full fat ingredients for heavens sake!!! I’m sure you know they can’t just take out the fat and wa-la! We have a delicious less caloric healthier food…right?! Wrong! They have to fill it back up with un-necessary fillers and usually more sugar. Natural is better. I promise. Fat is not your enemy. Full cream, real butter, natural cheeses and whole milk. All wonderful and healthy.
7. I’m going to contradict myself here for just a second. It’s for all you diet coke drinkers or whatever diet 0 calorie drink you use. Obviously my first thought would be to just stop drinking these drinks altogether but I have too many friends ‘addicted’ that I know it’s almost impossible or too much to ask. When it comes to sugar it’s always a better choice than ingesting the sugar substitute used in those drinks (or foods). That stuff is not food. Please just switch to the real stuff. I guarantee if you were taken to the plant or warehouse or wherever it is that they make the stuff and saw what it was and where it came from (who knows?) that you would start to question the sanity of the world. It’s just not food. Do we need to define the word food?!!
8. In our world, the consumption of red meat is controlled as well. Fat can become a problem (although I might add emphasis that it’s still not as deadly as sugar and other things found in low fat/no fat ‘foods’) when sausage and bacon and high fat meat cuts are eaten frequently. But at the same time these things can be extremely beneficial and nourishing when needed and eaten sparingly. Yum.
How do I feel these sacrifices/steps have helped my family?
At the risk of sounding boastful I’ll just say that I know my kids do not get sick as often as the average American kid. They are bright, capable and able to understand the effect of food on their tiny bodies. They feel the difference on their own.
As for me and my husband we couldn’t really give you any real comparison because we don’t really know any different. When we do eat white flour on rare occasions and not by choice, our digestive systems freak out for a while which makes us feel icky. It’s noticeable.
I feel blessed to be able to eat the way we do and I feel so strongly about it I am compelled to share it with others.
Have you heard the phrase, ‘If your great grandma wouldn’t recognize it as food then it probably isn’t food’. Next time you are in the store look past all those bright well designed marketed bags and boxes and try to decide if it could really pass as food. Did it come from the earth? And then what did it’s journey from the earth to your mouth look like? How long was it? What did it come in contact with? Who did it come in contact with? What did it loose in the process? If this journey makes your head hurt or you have to get a pen and paper out chances are it’s not the best choice for food. This goes for simple deceiving ingredients like white flour…it’s journey was long and gruesome and it came out the other end hardly recognized by its fellow wheat berries. You can definitely do better yourself.
This journey is HARD. I know. But again I promise you will receive help. Not only from God but I am here to help as well. Another dream of mine would be to move in with somebody (everybody) who is wanting to change their lifestyle and become their sidekick as they start the process. Show them how to make bread. Go to the store to buy the grinder and show them how to use it. Buy recipe books, make lists and go grocery shopping with them. Watch the satisfaction they have as they realize they can do this and how great it feels. Or we can just text. 😉
Every time we eat is an opportunity to nourish and heal our bodies. We should do our best to not waste those precious opportunities.
And just so you have proof that we do eat sugar and white flour though they may be rare occasions here is William enjoying a doughnut.
ps. If you are looking for a fabulous chef who has multiple recipe books, Betty Rosbottom is it. I LOVE her recipes. She actually knows what she is doing and she uses real ingredients (save for the use of white flour – easy switch!). I’m a little obsessed with cook books if you have any you love please share!
Photo credits : Artist, Amber Locke
Photo ID: 26LN0215-10 Lisovskaya Natalia