In our house, we love food. Yummy, home-cooked food that fills our tummies, and leaves us feeling full, nourished, and happy.
But it’s so darn easy in this super-busy life to cut corners. Buy the stuff that’s pre-packaged. Buy the stuff that’s so full of preservatives that it’ll sit on a shelf ’till kingdom come and never sprout a spore of mold. Run through the drive-thru on the way to whatever activity we’re speeding off to just to keep our bellies quiet.
At the start of this year, I decided that we would baby-step away from that kind of lifestyle. Away from the harried schedule that leaves us little to no time to sit around a table together, enjoying each other’s company. Away from the guilt-ridden fast food runs that left us over-fed and under-nourished. Away from pre-packaged food that was chock full of words I can’t pronounce, and that in no way resemble actual food.
Here’s the thing, though. Rome wasn’t built in a day. And for me, an instantaneous 180 degree turn-around spells failure. Guaranteed, every time.
So, I committed to baby steps. We started with breakfast, and committed to it for a month. Anything and everything we put in our mouths for breakfast would be 100% whole – nothing refined, no sugar, no empty calories that were nutritionally void. (Not necessarily organic – that’s another mountain to climb, but again, the only way I can stick with something is to do it in small, baby steps.)
I was apprehensive at first, but you know what? It wasn’t that hard. A little harder than just pulling out the container of Fruit Loops, for sure, but only minimally so. After a month or so, I became brave enough to add lunch into the mix. Again, it’s a little harder than pulling out a frozen pizza, but not so much so that it’s discouraging. Sometime after Little Miss Took arrives, dinner-time will get the same makeover.
But honestly, what we’re already getting out of it kind of blows my mind.
For starters, I had no idea how refined sugar affected me until I cut it out of 2/5 of our eating (dividing our food consumption up into 5 categories: Brekkie, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks, and Tea-time). Before, I was so used to the bursts of energy followed by crashes that left me drooling on the table that I hardly noticed them. Now, if I allow myself a soda or cookie in the afternoon, I can physically feel it happening – the jittery amping up, and the devastating crash after. It’s wild. And gacky. And (and this might have something to do with being pregnant; we’ll see in about a month) the mood swings that accompany it are…stunning. For real.
Secondly, I feel legitimately hungry…and legitimately full. When I wake up in the morning, I’m hungry, but for food – not for a cup of coffee like before (which had been my staple brekkie before the ‘experiment’) – but for actual food. And when I’m done with brekkie, I’m full – not because I’ve tricked my body into thinking it’s full from the burst of caffeine and splash of milk – but full in a way that leaves me feeling content…like, kitty-purring-in-the-sunshine-I’m-ready-to-kick-this-day’s-@$$ content.
It’s freaking awesome.
It’s safe to say we’re digging it. We’re never going to be the kind of family to hop on a particular strict-diet bandwagon. We’re never going to be afraid of natural fats, or of bread, or of meat. We’re never going to be overly concerned with weight, or size. But this transition into additive-free eating…it’s far easier, much yummier, and way more addictive than I had anticipated.
Are you considering an additive-free, whole-foods lifestyle for your family? What’s your motivation? How are you going about it – all-or-nothing style, or baby-steps, like me? Here are a couple websites that helped me get started: