If you missed the preface to this post, you can read Our Steps to Better Health – Part 1.
Now where was I?
Oh yes. As you remember from yesterday, we are trying to go the more whole food route. Foods the way God made them without much processing and minimum chemicals and fillers. In other words, cut out the junk.
I’m not a 100% gal in anything food-related. Cutting out major food groups causes me great stress and only makes me want that food group more than ever! Some folks can decide one day that they will never eat sugar again and not touch a grain of it. I greatly admire these people, but it’s not the way my brain was wired. So I am learning to do this by working around my weaknesses and strengths.
I like the 80/20 rule. You eat healthy 80% of the time, leaving yourself some wiggle room for the other 20%. This allows me to totally enjoy eating out at a restaurant with my hubby or having folks into our home after church Sunday evenings for ice cream!
I have to remember the goal I am heading for and take small steps in heading towards that direction. Yet I also must remember not to let it take over my life, controlling every single bite we put into our mouths!
If you’re of the whole foods and getting healthy mindset, you are welcome to follow our Whole Foods board on Pinterest. This is where I will be posting whole/real food recipes I either want to try, have tried or am currently experimenting with!
Start with one baby step
This is the low point I finally had to come to. I saw my cooking for what it was and where I wanted it to be, and it looked so horrendously overwhelming. But I decided to tackle one single food and conquer it before moving to the next one.
For example, one of the first items I changed was our yogurt. All of us love yogurt. We used to eat the Yoplait and its generic versions of yumminess. Then we were introduced to Zoi Greek yogurt and we fell in love with that! But one day I was looking at the ingredients of Zoi Greek Honey yogurt, and noticed how many grams of sugar were in it and the staggering calorie content. Gulp.
I decided to get brave and try my first baby step. I took home a carton of plain Greek yogurt – yeah, the stuff that tastes like sour cream! At home, I mixed in some raw honey and tasted it. Not too bad! Next, I dished it up into jelly jars and put them in the fridge. Tentatively, I watched as the kids tasted it. Houston! We have a winner!!
It worked. Most of the family liked it and so we have continued with this little substitution to this day. One of our breakfasts is when I dump a whole carton of yogurt in a bowl, drizzle over some raw honey and slap it on the table. Throw on the jars of granola and a bowl of fruit and breakfast is ready – in about 5 minutes! I love this breakfast – fast and easy should have been my middle name.
Anyhow, all that to show you that it only takes one baby step at a time to conquer a mountain. After you accomplish that first small step, you will find yourself feeling really good! And ready to tackle the next one.
Believe me, ladies. If this ol’ sugar addict can take one baby step, you can too.
Grow a garden
I know, I know. I’d better preface this one by saying that not everyone will have the space for gardening, or even the desire to. And that’s okay. I don’t have the desire to scrapbook, paint my kitchen, or crochet baby hats like some of you are so talented at doing! We’re all different because God made us unique.
However, if you have room to garden, and it’s not something you absolutely abhor, I’d encourage you to put out a few seeds and plants to help your health. Personally, I am of the opinion that gardening helps my health in two ways. The first way is by the actual act of gardening and the second by eating the food I’ve grown.
I love to garden! It is my way to relieve stress – thus helping my health. After tilling up my beautiful soil, I kick off my sandals and dig my toes down deep. My garden is my happy place, my quiet time where I can make green plants look beautiful while I listen to the birds and wind in the trees. Oh boy, I am having an attack of spring fever as I type!
We try to use all the food we grow by freezing, drying and canning it. This not only cuts down on chemicals that factories would put into the same foods, but I can also control how much fertilizer and pesticide I put on my garden. Frankly, in Idaho, we do not have the bug problems that the East has, so our pesticide is saved almost exclusively for broccoli plants. However, we do have an early frost problem!
It’s that word. If you read it real fast, it will not hurt you as badly!
Wintertime is a hard time for exercising. Last summer, Lowell would either sprint down the road or ride his bike. I rode my bike several mornings and week and loved it! However, this winter we’ve tried something new. Lowell got an app on his phone that is a high intensity workout for 7 minutes. It’s a variety of exercises such as abdominal crunches, wall sits, planks, pushups and more. Lowell and I, and the older kids, are currently doing this on school mornings. So if you pass our house at 7 am and see a bunch of heads bobbing up and down in our living room . . . we’re probably in the middle of jumping jacks!
Exercise doesn’t have to be for hours on end. Just find something that gets your heart pumping hard. It will increase your mood if nothing else. When finished, you’ll say “Oh wow! I actually did that! Go me!”
And if you find yourself needing somebody to give you a kickstart and keep you going, maybe ask your husband or a friend to do it with you. Lowell is awesome at keeping me going when I’d rather wimp out! I also enjoyed texting my sister when she and I were both doing the same walking routine a few months back. Just find somebody to keep you accountable – it helps!
Not everyone will take vitamin and mineral supplements, but we believe our soil, that grows all our food, has been so depleted of their natural minerals from years of heavy chemicals and pesticide use – that it is hard to get all the nutrition we need from food alone. I know this is a hot topic, but we’ll leave it at that. It’s a personal choice – so do your research and make your decision based on your family’s needs.
We are currently supplementing our diets with iodine. If you want to see what we take with it, you can click here. We have added a few things to our supplementation, and taken away a couple. For example, we take cod liver oil and a few of us are on probiotics. However, we are trying to keep our main probiotic source as being our homemade kefir. Everybody loves it and we think it tastes like a strawberry smoothie!
If you wish to view the hows, whys and wherefores of iodine supplementation, you can see that here.
Cut the bromide
Bromide is toxic to our bodies. I never knew what it was until Lowell researched it and told me. Years ago, they used to put iodine in our flour that we buy from the store, but once they took that out, they put bromide in. And bromide is not good for us.
We have found that Wheat Montana’s flour does not have bromide in it. Of course, if you grind all your own wheat, you will not have bromide in it either. But we currently do not own a grain grinder. So I like to purchase Wheat Montana’s flour in 25 pound bags and store it in 5-gallon buckets in my basement.
Most companies that do not put bromide in their flour will usually have it on their flour package label. They are pretty quick to tell you when it is not present. If you are unsure, you can probably call them or do a quick Google search. Isn’t Google great?!
Use up your pantry
If you’re just beginning, don’t feel guilty for the items you have in your pantry. If you wish to give them away, go for it. But I am slowly using up the items I had such as cream of mushroom soups, all while figuring out what I am going to replace it with once it is gone. What healthy version will take its place in my pantry?
For example, I still don’t have the children’s school sandwiches on 100% whole wheat bread simply because I still have store-bought wheat bread in the freezer. But we’re heading in the right direction . . .
What do you eat?
Practical should have been my middle name, along with quick and easy. When I read posts like this with lots of “what is good and what is bad”, it can leave my head spinning. I want to throw my hands up in the air and say “Forget it! Pass the brownies, please.”
So if you want to know what this looks like in shoe leather, here is a quick sample menu of different meal ideas. But remember, I’m still learning! In fact, my one son came home and said he felt weak at school today – probably because he did not have some kind of whole grain with his sausage at lunch. That always makes me feel bad, but I’m not giving up. This is a learning process for me too.
- Our honey yogurt with granola and fruit
- Scrambled eggs and whole wheat toast
- Fried eggs with whole wheat biscuits
- Sausages and oatmeal
- Cold cereal!!! *This is reserved for Saturday mornings. 🙂 It is our treat and we look forward to it!
Lunch: *Our kids are now taking a small crockpot to school so we can heat up leftovers for our four school-goers. They are enjoying this – especially since they now only have to pack lunch one day a week, although it is lunch for the entire crew! With four kids, they each take one day – plus school hot lunch on Wednesdays.
- Leftovers – like today they had leftover whole wheat biscuits and sausage gravy, plus a few sausage links
- Sandwiches on whole wheat bread
- Elk smokies (or use up any smokies in the freezer)
- Meat of any kind
- Plus . . . fresh fruit or frozen strawberry cups, dried cherries, olives, carrots and ranch, cheese, pistachios, crackers or chips if we still have some in the pantry, 2 pieces of Dove chocolates each, Larabars, popcorn, etc. We just fill the basket until it’s full and send them off to school!
- Roast, potatoes and corn
- Ham, whole-wheat macaroni and cheese (homemade) and salad
- Chicken quesadillas and green beans
- Cobb salad and whole-wheat cheese biscuits
- Rice and beans and salad
- Multigrain pancakes and eggs (I am trying to use maple syrup, but they still like pancake syrup)
- Chicken and brown rice and sauteed green beans (in lots of BUTTER!!)
Whole foods do not have to taste awful –
God made them absolutely delicious!
And now I’ve reached the point where I’m tired of talking about healthy stuff . . . and cheesecake is looking pretty good!
I hope I haven’t bored you to tears with these two posts or come off snobby like we’ve just really got it altogether in this Shoe . . . because we don’t. We try, we fail – and we sometimes throw some of the awful-tasting food to the chickens. What lovely little eaters they are!
But one step backwards doesn’t mean we’re completely off the path. I just need to take another baby step onward to my goal.
A little dark chocolate also makes me feel better . . .