This is the first post in a series I’m going to do on all my food findings. I hope you won’t stare at it with your eyes glazed over because this really is important – even if you don’t have health issues yourself. I have hesitated putting myself out there because I feel like a crazy person more than I feel sane when I start talking about all I have found to be disturbing in food. I know there are a lot of people who hold the idea that they are just NOT going to live with these kinds of restraints when it comes to eating, and I get it. I just pray you won’t wait until you can no longer get out of bed to make at least a few small changes to a healthier family.
It is obvious the need for this knowledge is growing or there wouldn’t be so many documentaries on these days about losing weight as a family, becoming healthier and at home excercise programs. We are fortunate to have choices in the food we eat, and I hope that one day, with enough people saying we have absolutely had it with this crap in our diets, the FDA will HAVE to make changes to what they think is acceptable. I don’t follow dieting fads. I’ve read all the same things you have about food, and watched how things are good for you and then magically they’re not. I’ve followed the trends on “Superfoods” and I’ve eaten most of them. Remember that I’ve always considered myself a healthy eater and I’ve always been active, so in my eyes I wasn’t a candidate for an autoimmune issue.
Every since I started this new health journey I have had a lot of people drop their jaw and ask, “What DO you eat?” For the first couple of months my response was, “Nothing and I’m starving ALL the time!” I had the list of all the things I couldn’t eat, but had no idea where to start with what I could. After a lot research, digestive enzymes and trial and error with my own body, I have finally been able to find a good mix of foods that keep my energy up and my stomach happy without needing to pop supplements all day. I am following a mostly Paleo diet, but I do consume a few things strict Paleo followers do not. Finally, I’m starting to feel a little less like a crazy person and a little more like a smart eater.
On most days you will find me carrying my food bag everywhere I go. Even if you invite me over and try to cook what I can eat, chances are unless you are a Paleo or raw enthusiast, I can’t eat it. This is why we have not accepted dinner invites so please don’t take it personal. One result of this process of cleaning my body of all the toxins is a new very high sensitivity to said toxins. The littlest bit ruins my stomach and the residual lasts several day. It just isn’t worth it! I wrote in the beginning I was afraid this might happen, and it did. Did I always have this discomfort and didn’t notice because of all the other health issues?
I am in the process of bringing my family on this journey with me. The difference for them is that I am letting it be their choice. I am making them aware of how they feel when they eat processed foods versus how they feel when they eat a wholesome alternative. The boys are reading the serving size on their favorite things and comparing the nutritional values. I still let them eat Goldfish, cereal and other packaged foods. But I’m always on the lookout for alternative to sell them on. Most have good intentions when feeding their kiddos, and if you know you have to make changes but don’t know where to start, I highly reccomend this website where Kristi takes one common household food and gives you a healthier alternative. http://babyfoodsteps.wordpress.com/category/50-baby-steps/
Another question I’m always asked is, “Is it hard?” Yes, it is hard. Here are a few reasons why:
1. The majority of social endeavours involve food. When I carry my food bag it sparks questions. While I love to be able to inform people, I’m still trying to find ways to explain it without offending the person who is eating the food that was killing me.
2. The more I read about the relaxed requirements of the FDA, the more angry it makes me that chemicals and genetically modified foods are acceptable in this country.
3. It takes a lot of time to find the recipes, try them, and create a menu that the entire family will enjoy. It also takes a long time to make everything fresh for every meal and then is spoils fast. Being a past bulk cooker this is a very hard transition. Not to mention the increase is dishes!
4. It’s hard running all around town to find the ingredients. I do order a lot of things online and I’m happy to share those resources with you. I am VERY excited about the new farmers markets around! I hate blowing my budget every week on these ingredients after sticking to a strict $100 a week budget for so long. I hate it even more when the expensive meal goes in the trash.
5. It’s hard to watch people on unhealthy diets and take prescription drugs instead of changing their lifestyle and eating habits first. I am proof that a strict diet change can make a difference. I know doctors tell people everyday they need to excercise and lose weight then send them out the door. What if there were more nutritional counseling for that?
6. I have had days that I feel very deprived and just want to eat like everyone else. I have actually had times that I’m REALLY close to doing it, but then something triggers and I remember how bad “bad” feels! I often remind myself I had 30 plus years of eating whatever I wanted.
7. You know that weird smell when you walk into a Natural Food Store? It has always bothered me…now my pantry has it.
But a lifetime of feeling good, despite these few things makes it worth it and if it keeps us out of the Doctor’s office and off prescriptions, it’s worth it. I really do want to be able to be a cool Grandma one day.
Let’s start with What is a Paleo Diet? Here is the definition from one of my favorite new recipe blogs http://www.multiplydelicious.com
The Paleo (short for Paleolithic) Diet is a dietary lifestyle based on the ancestral human diet. Essentially, it focuses on whole foods like meat, vegetables, and fruits while avoiding the foods that were introduced into diet relatively recently – grains, soy, legumes, and dairy. It also avoids processed foods like sugar and additives.”
Here are my guidelines:
- No processed foods – fast food, those things in boxes that have a long list of stuff we don’t know, anything that is not REAL food.
- No refined, artificial & added sugars – or really any sugar that isn’t already naturally in foods. I use honey, agave, coconut sugar, maple syrup and occasionally Stevia drops
- No grains – I bake with coconut flour and almond flour. I eat very little rice and had to cut corn in any form.
- No legumes – I stay far away from soy, but I do eat peanut butter.
- No white potatoes – I DO eat a lot of potatoes, but they spike your insulin so you have to be careful. Sweet potatoes are okay as they are NOT potatoes, they don’t even come from the same plant family! Interesting, right?
- Try to avoid dairy – I don’t do this at all. They suggest you use fermented or raw grass-fed dairy if needed. I have not cut any dairy.
- No alcohol – although if you absolutely have to there are some “better” ones to consume.
- No vegetable oils – that includes canola, peanut, soybean, corn, etc…I use grapeseed oil, coconut oil and olive oil.
- Yes to healthy fats – animal fat, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, tallow, nut oils, etc…
- Yes to grass-fed meats, pastured free-range chicken/eggs, wild fish and fresh organic produce. Since I can’t eat chicken I am limited even more.
- Sleep! That’s important.
Yesterday I was working on my homeschool lesson plans for Science and we are studying the Human Body this year. I got a little uptight as I read through the section where I am supposed to be teaching my children to eat based on the Food Pyramid. I have had this very pyramid poster on our fridge for years. Now, I will be teaching my children a completely different way of eating. It won’t be Paleo because I would never say that one diet is right for every person, but it won’t contain genetically modified foods, or foods that contain a list of chemicals you can’t even pronounce. (genetically modified foods should not be confused with cross pollinated foods.) I will show them this flowchart:
With the few adjustments and the fact that we haven’t switched to all organic or all grass-fed because of the lack of supply, I am a Paleo eater. Now that you have a better understanding of what Paleo is, here is what it looks like. Fair warning: I eat yummy food! Today I’ll start with dessert because I’m convinced if you don’t feel deprived, trying this will be so much easier! My base chocolate is Good Life Chocolate Chips and once you try them you will never go back to the waxy ones. I use mostly Penzy’s spices and they are wonderful and robust.
My favorite “I deserve a treat tonight” snack is fondue. I melt some chocolate in a little bowl, slice some fruit and dunk, dunk, dunk. It is amazing. Stay tuned tomorrow for breakfast and snacks!