Bear with me here. This is a long post but it really explains a lot. It demonstrates how anyone can change their bad habits by replacing them with good ones….
Facebook pages and blog posts have a way of making life seem like everything is coming up roses. The same goes for pictures with everyone smiling for the camera. I wouldn’t say that is entirely untrue of my life at this moment. None of my family members have any major (or minor) illnesses, we have a roof over our heads, and my husband has a job. Really my biggest concern at the moment is getting my tax documents together and accomplishing my natural living objectives. That doesn’t mean that I don’t feel like my life is absolutely insane at times. “God only gives us as much as we can handle.” I’m not sure where that quote came from but it is something I’ve referenced in my mind several times. I know, for example that God gave me twins for a reason. I need them. Yes, it was hard in the beginning but I didn’t know any better. They were my first children and even one would have been a challenge. Since my kids have each other, it gave me the opportunity to establish a business from home and make changes during that time in my life without the struggle of constantly setting up entertainment for them. When I didn’t have the opportunity to take them to a play date I still felt ok since I knew they had a playmate. With homeschooling it works out well since they have each other to learn from and with. It is amazing to watch them.
As I get older and learn more I look back on where I came from. I’ve learned not to judge people as much for who you think they are or what you think they are going through. You never really know why someone acts the way they do. People carry around a lot of hidden baggage. You may never know its contents. I look back at my childhood and see how far I’ve come with my eating habits. I remember drinking Hi-C, soda, and Kool-aid. I remember eating Fruity Pebbles, Lucky Charms, and Frosted Flakes. The only vegetables I would eat were Le Sueur baby peas and carrots. Salad had to be iceberg with cucumbers, american cheese, and loads of french dressing. I wouldn’t touch any berries and the only fruit I would eat were apples with cinnamon and sugar on them (and peeled). School lunches in high school consisted of me taking my lunch money and buying Chipwiches (two chocolate chip cookies with ice cream in the middle). You would think I weighed 400 lbs! Fortunately I had a fantastic metabolism and despite my horrendous eating habits I managed to be 5’9″ and 140 lbs when I graduated high school. I was definitely what we refer to as “skinny fat.”
College life = Ramen noodles.
In college I lived on Ramen noodles, pasta in general, bulk generic sugar cereal out of a bag, Wheat Thins, and pretzel rods. Double Stuff Oreos were a staple snack item. I drank my coffee with cream and sugar. The quantity of sugar was determined by tipping a dispenser upside down over the cup and counting to 8. Shocking. Clearly I didn’t like the taste of coffee back then. In college I did start trying to do a couple of things though. I tried to make myself like bananas by eating a bite of one every day. After a few months I was eating a whole banana. I also tried to make myself like yogurt in the same way. It is strange to think back on this today.
I failed at eating healthy in the Navy.
For my 6 years in the Navy I was a failure at healthy eating. I was a Surface Warfare Officer so we were in and out of port all of the time. Keeping fresh veggies in your fridge didn’t work very well. We ate out for every meal. On the ship I was disinterested in everything but breakfast, pizza, and burgers. I would gorge myself on the dinner rolls, beef jerky and candy. It is so gross to think about how I did that to my body!
I don’t blame my parents.
Please don’t think this is something I blame on my parents. I am a strong believer that we make decisions for ourselves and our children based on the knowledge we have at the time. We have to accept that we made the best decision we could and move on. Yes, I am doing differently for my children but this is how a majority of people are raised today still. People just don’t know about the effects of food on our health. We have seen a better availability of this information with current access to the internet. That is very encouraging for future generations.
How my healthy eating story began.
My healthy eating story only truly began when my babies were 6 months old. For some reason I started looking into more things. I think it was because they were starting on solid foods and I wanted them to be healthy. I started learning how to make my own baby food and about vaccination options. I found homeopathy, learned what HFCS stands for and what it does to your body. I just started skimming the surface of natural living. I made a list from all of the recipes I found on the Whole Foods website and went out and dropped $500 in one grocery shopping trip. I bought tapioca flour, arrowroot flour and all other kinds of things I had never heard of. I later realized this was the wrong approach. I felt frantic though. Dr Michael Smith, ND from Carolinas Natural Health Center talked me down. He told me to take baby steps and phase these changes into my life. I am the type of person that jumps in with two feet though. I took his advice and tried to slow down.
My first month.
My first month of eating healthy was about trying to add more real veggies into our diet. FIVE servings of fruits and vegetables every single day? I think I was lucky to get ONE and they were covered in pesticides. I’m sorry to disappoint you but I’m not letting you count that sauce on your pasta as a serving of anything. Thankfully Dr Smith told me about Juice Plus. My husband and I started taking the Juice Plus capsules every day. It was like a fog had lifted. I was able to think clearly and I had a more consistent level of energy throughout the day. We found that they really bridged the gap between what we SHOULD be eating and what we WERE eating. Lets be honest, no matter how much I prepare, I am always falling short on the amount of veggies I’m eating. Even now I run out of peppers and leafy greens all of the time. We drink green smoothies but even green smoothies aren’t going to fulfill all of your bodies needs for the entire day. Juice Plus capsules helped me curb my cravings and get my body into nutrition mode. I feel like even if we have a tough day nutrition-wise, at least I know that we had our Juice Plus so we aren’t as bad off as we could be!
I figured out that I had to take a different approach to meal planning. I found meals that did not include meat. For an entire month we ate only veggies. Instead of thinking, “I have chicken unthawed. What can I make with chicken?” My thought process became more about the combination of veggies, quinoa, rice and herbs. This really helped move my brain beyond the protein-veggie-starch mentality. Some of the BIG things we did were to quit soda and stop eating processed food entirely. I started making laps around the outside areas of the grocery store and completely avoiding everything in the middle. That’s where all the processed junk hides. No more BAGS of Doritos for me! Once you do this for a few weeks you stop craving the crap. It was hard though. I still fell off the wagon occasionally but I didn’t beat myself up too badly about it. I just picked myself up and tried harder the next day.
Homemade Baby Food
Making my own baby food wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. I would spend a few hours ONE day a MONTH and steam carrots, bake sweet potatoes, and steam other veggies that I would then puree in various combinations. I would take that puree and freeze it into ice cube trays that I would later dump into ziploc freezer bags. DONE for TWO months! It felt amazing to be doing something that great for my babies. I intend to write more about homemade baby food and other topics relating to this that helped me tremendously. Aren’t my little munchkins adorable?
Taking things to the next level.
Life continued on in this fashion for a few years but we never really moved beyond this stage. As you have probably already read about on my blog, I decided this year to take this to the next level. I want to be more self-sufficient by growing my own foods, making my own personal care products, composting, and possibly even getting to the point where we have solar power for our home. Again, baby steps is what I keep telling myself. I’m still learning to homeschool my children and trying to overcome the challenges that that brings into my life. I’ve written about what I love about homeschooling but haven’t really touched on the ups and downs of day to day life as a homeschooling Mom. The fears that by not mainstreaming your children you are somehow not cultivating their true potential, that somehow you are not doing enough for them or they are at some sort of disadvantage. I know these things aren’t true but you can know something all day long and you’ll still doubt yourself.
My physical fitness roller coaster.
Fitness was non-existent in my life since the military. Even in the military fitness was really only twice a year for the fitness test. When my girls were three years old, my husband and I joined a Crossfit gym. We took the into class and couldn’t walk properly for two days. We were holding the railing (well, completely using it to support our body weight) as we traveled up and down the stairs in our home. We thought it was fun and challenging though so we continued with it. It truly revolutionized fitness in our lives. It was amazing and we still do it today. My husband is consistent about it but I’m another story. I’m good for a while, maybe even going 4 days a week at my peak. Then I fall off the wagon and go once a week. Or, we go on vacation and I don’t come back for a couple more weeks. I just get in funk where I want to get things done around the house or I miss my one window of opportunity and I get screwed out of going for the rest of the day. Here I am right now missing my opportunity. We are in our Hobby Homestead now and in the process of setting up our fitness area in the garage. I’m excited about throwing some weight around soon!
The best idea I ever had.
This blog is probably the best idea I’ve ever had. I feel like I have someone to report to even though it may be three people (or just me) reading this right now. I feel accountable. By thinking I have to report to my facebook page with a photo of what I am eating, I have forced myself to think of a decent meal every evening. I’ve committed myself on facebook and in the blog to making a compost tumbler and a rain barrel. This means that one way or another, it WILL happen. One thing I’m not letting myself be afraid of is failure. I keep telling myself that this is real and I will try to do what I am saying I will do but life is real and I am a real person. I have learned that you need to stay committed to your decisions but stay flexible in your approach. That every single thing that has happened in your life has prepared you for a moment that has yet to come. I try to maintain clarity and faith that I am moving forward even if I take a step back every now and then….