Friday, July 13, 2012

So Far, So Good

This healthy eating plan is not always easy, but it definitely connects you more with the foods you eat, and I’m a big believer in being more conscientious about all aspects of your life. This includes your work, your family, and the foods you eat. I think we all function in a state of mindlessness, some more than others, where we don’t think about the things we do or what is important to us. We just go about our jobs, spend lots of money, and eat lots of garbage. In a way, the system is set up perfectly, because we as a culture love to spend money, more than we have, forcing us to work harder and harder. Since we spend so much time at work, we don’t have time to cook, so we eat foods that are unhealthy but convenient, and then spend our free time watching TV, which solidifies the virtues of this lifestyle into our heads. What a great system for whomever is making money all this.

Anyway, enough of my priggish pontification. Live and let live, right? In the end, you choose a way to live your life and it has no bearing on the rest of the world. You just do the best you can, and believe me, we’ve been trying. I’ve found that you just have to find some balance, especially when, as I’ve mentioned, these so-called nutritional experts can’t seem to agree on the perfect diet. The key is moderation and a lot of common sense. One of the biggest challenges for me, being the cook in the house, is to make meatless, dairy-free meals that the kids will like. I could probably live on salads and crusty whole grain bread, but kids will not tolerate wholesome goodness unless it tastes good. Plus, they’re growing, so nutrition is important.

Avoiding dairy is pretty straightforward, I don’t miss milk, though cheese used to be a staple in this house. Not having ice cream is like a day without sunshine, but we indulge now and then, especially since it’s been scientifically proven that you can’t be happy without ice cream. I think R and I could handle this on our own, it’s the kids I feel for. After all, avoiding sugar, ice cream, and candy is good for them, but we consumed them in mass quantities as kids, and now we’re asking them not to eat them? It doesn’t sound completely fair, even if it’s in their best interest.

Even though R is not keen on it, I’m still going to cook fish, but for the most part, we’ve been avoiding meat, especially red meat, and have removed white, starchy stuff, including potatoes and white bread. I’ll incorporate a little parmesan cheese into the pasta, and make goat cheese and smoked salmon sandwiches for the kids (one of their favorites).

The paradox of healthy eating is that while it makes it more challenging to eat because you really have to think about what you’re eating, it does seem to simplify shopping because you end up avoiding about 80% of the supermarket. All we end up buying are lots of noodles, fresh veggies and fruit. I can’t say for sure if I feel tremendously better, but I want to believe I do, and whatever be the case, I feel better about the idea of eating a healthier diet. In fact, I cringe when I think back on all the ice cream, candy, and processed snack foods that I’ve eaten in the not so distant past. It’s crazy when I think about it.

I will say this: on the 4th, when you’d expect to eat corn dogs and french fries, we managed to eat a healthy lunch of pupusas at Mama Tina's, which are South American corn patties filled with beans and topped with Salvadoran coleslaw and fresh salsa. We eat them all the time at the market, and I love them. They make them on the spot, and you can get them meat and dairy free, and they are loaded with fresh veggies. We ended up eating pie for dessert, and had ice cream during the fireworks, but we had a healthy supper at home in-between. I thought for sure there would be hot dogs or burgers in our meal plan, but we pulled off some healthy eating, sort of.

So far, so good, as the saying goes. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to charlottepurdy for the pic.

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