Friday, January 28, 2011

Making the Leap

This has been a long time coming for us... after we watched 'Supersize Me' years ago... and then 'Food, Inc.' (watch instantly if you have Netflix)last year. And now, I am almost through reading 'The Crazy Makers: How the Food Industry Is Destroying Our Brains and Harming Our Children', and I can not avoid the signs any longer... my family needs a food overhaul. We eat far too much processed foods, too much sugar and not nearly enough vegetables and proteins.

Remember the food pyramid? Well, let's just say we need a little work in the green and orange areas. There is no way any person in this household eats 2.5 cups of veggies per day. And half of our grains being whole grain? Nope. I felt because I don't allow crap like Oreos in the house and I home cook many of our meals, I was doing well.... but I really was not looking at the hidden dangers or the fact that we simply do not consume enough vegetables.

I can clearly see the affects of our nations poor diet and exposure to toxins in many of our foods. I have seen girls starting puberty at age 7 or 8, children who can not seem to control their behavior, obesity rates that are just insanity, diabetes, allergies... the list is endless.

I am starting small. It means a change in budget, as it is hard to deny organic and healthy simply costs more. A change in my time management- I will need to spend more time making better food, researching different recipes than we are accustomed to and avoiding prepared and prepackaged foods. It will be a change for my kids, they will have to learn that they will be eating more vegetables, more fruits, less sugar and less refined food. But, since they do not drive or have a job... they don't have much choice!

First, and easiest changes:

• Organic, Free Range eggs (also Omega 3 enhanced.). I have been meaning to do this for years... not entirely sure why I haven't but they are only about $1 more and a much more ethical choice. Also, Omega 3 has been proven to improve brain function and children do not get nearly enough of this.

• Whole grain bread. I have always bought whole wheat, thinking that was adequate... nope! After I brought home my whole grain bread, I checked the ingredients of my wheat bread... 3rd ingredient? High fructose corn syrup!!!! (No, I am not falling for that new PRO-HFCS ad campaign- I know all sugars are bad for us, but HFCS is processed, unnatural and therefore bad in my book.) Whole grain bread is un-refined and offers 1/4 of your daily fiber in just one slice, 10% of your iron (which children often lack, leading to anemia, sluggishness and many other issues). And whole grain had 4 grams of protein in a slice as opposed to the 2 grams in my wheat bread. Not a huge difference, but I did say I am making small changes here.

• Organic apples. Apples are one of the most contaminated fruits and is included in the 'Dirty Dozen" foods that you should always buy organic. I downloaded the pocket shopping card so I now have list in my wallet and know which contaminated foods to buy organic and which I can save money on and buy straight from the non-organic section.

• Beans. Lots and lots of beans. Beans are truly the magic food- full of proteins, fiber and various nutrients. They are inexpensive, come in a huge variety, fill you up fast, are low calorie, and can be used in so many diverse recipes.

• This is not a change, but an eating habit we will keep. Yummy foods from Stonyfield. I like to buy their YoBaby tubes of yogurt and freeze them for a healthy snack for the girls. I am trying to reduce the amount of sugar we consume, but if I cut all sugary, yummy snacks from the kids diet... well that's just ridiculous. And they yogurt is a good compromise: organic, easy, and fulfills their obsession with 'treats'.

Anyhow, this will be a slow process... I will be trying some of the recipes provided in the back of Crazy Makers, and I will share them and how they are received in this family. Do you have a suggestion for any other easy changes we might make?


  1. Good for you!!!
    We could all use a little more veggies, in my opinion. Congrats on "taking the leap". Wishing you much success.

  2. My mom has changed everything to organic. She started because she read how it helps cancer patients feel better during treatments, and I have to say it did.
    I will get some ideas from her to give you, and where you can get organic meats.

  3. you should check out quinoa ... it has become one of our house hold favorites .... with veggies, in salad, in yogurt etc ....

  4. Congratulations. What a wonderful decision. Your girls will thank you for it. Eventually. ;-)
    I have to agree with Danielle. I'm a vegetarian, and quinoa is a staple of my diet. It's extremely versatile; try it with veggies in a stir-fry, or with a little milk and honey for breakfast. I love to add a banana and a handful of last summer's now-frozen blueberries. Utterly delicious! Loads of fiber and iron. Plus, it's a complete protein, just like meat and dairy, but without the excess fat.
    Wow, I sound like a spokesperson for quinoa farmers! Good luck!

  5. You are soooo right. I read "Food Inc" and "The Omnivoer's Dilemma" while I was on maternity leave. It's amazing how it changed my view of the grocery store.

    Our biggest change was a switch to organic milk. We drink so much milk and it is the least I could do.

    Also, we have a nursery that seels local produce right next to our house so I try to buy local (and most of it is marked organic) when the market is open.

    I agree that we do not eat our serving of fruits and vegetables. Well, we might eat the fruits but it is near to impossible to get the family to eat the veggies. I serve the veggies with evey meal, but it gets put in the frisge as leftovers and eventually thrown away.

    Also, I am NOT a bean eater myself so we never (I mean NEVER) eat beans of any size, shape, or color.

  6. Well done!

    Too many of us cannot get into the swing of things and think 'maybe tomorrow...'

    I can't wait to read about how it all goes.

    Adding bananas or sultanas/raisins to things like homem made bread, yogurt or even as a bowl of snacks in front of a move works for us.

  7. Find out about purchasing eggs locally. That is what we do, I purchase eggs from a woman who has free range chickens.