Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Confessions of a Real Food Convert

We have started eating real food, and I like it.  All of our kidlets have had food allergies, and I had used that as a mental excuse to eat any safe junk food we wanted.  Thankfully, many of the allergies no longer affect them, but that had just widened the crack in the door.  Our schedule also means that we are frequently out of the house during mealtimes, so we were doing quite a bit of fast food.

Usually, when I make a radical change, it involves a ton of research, hours poring over books and websites, weighing different alternatives, and then finding a group of people who feel the same way to support and encourage me.  This time, it was a little more...excuse the pun...organic.  It just felt right.

I have never been a fan of diet foods or artificially colored/flavored anything, but we ate a LOT of sugar and conventional meats.  Last year, we started using more honey and less sugar, all organic milk and eggs, and some organic produce.  This year, we switched to all pasture-raised, organic, grass-fed meats and dairy and nearly all organic grains and produce (and we are eating much more fruits and veggies than before, especially veggies!). 
Carrots - Carota - Wortels - Geze - 胡萝卜- zanahoria - carotte - ニンジン
The kidlets think that the greens on top look fancy and more like *real* carrots.  They love to peel them and eat them now!

I have been so excited about it!  Without even trying to, we are eating less and less junk.  It just doesn't appeal as much now.  Real food has just replaced it most of the time.  It does cost a little bit more, but not nearly as much as I feared, since we are eating less of other things.  And it may be my imagination, but it seems like I feel full faster and am crashing/snacking less.

With all of this, I was really excited to participate in the recent 10 Day Real Food Challenge along with Child Organics, The ArtfulMama, Simply Natural Mom and some of my other favorite bloggers, thanks to 100 Days of Real Food.  I admit, I cheated on Easter, since it is a feast day, and had a lovely dessert bread stuffed full of fruits and nuts that contained some sugar and more than 5 ingredients.  Otherwise, though, I followed the rules and found it easier than I expected.

Completely eliminating sugar was a little tough, although being able to use honey and real maple syrup satisfied any cravings for sweet stuff.  I was also delighted that my favorite muffin recipe made with honey instead of sugar turned out fabulous.  But a lifetime with no chocolate?  Um, no thanks.  We don't use granulated sugar much at all, but I am not going to completely cut out all items that have sugar.  Especially chocolate, thankyouverymuch. In the future, I will also use items with more than five ingredients as long as they are things that my great-grandparents would have recognized as food, and some fast foods. Although I find that there, too, my preferences have changed quite a bit.  Once you eat grass-fed beef, burgers from other sources just don't taste very good!

With those modifications, though, I am finding that eating real food doesn't feel restrictive in any way.  I eat whenever I want and whatever I want.   You don't miss Tootsie Rolls if you are feasting on Godiva truffles.  I have whole fat, grass fed butter every day, sweets everyday (with honey or maple syrup), and plenty of protein (my hubby's favorite meal now is burgers since we started buying the meat from a local farm.  He says that before, he never could understand how Bobby Flay could say that a burger was one of his favorite meals, but the grass-fed beef made him a convert, too).  The funny thing?  With all this, we have both lost weight!

Our younger kids aren't fully on board yet, but that is OK, too.  I am buying less of the processed foods and just by having more real food available, they are starting to prefer it, too.  The baby loves my smoothies with spinach, kale, cod liver oil, fruit and yogurt.  My son told me yesterday that he liked the Subway sandwich better than McDonald's.  Our three year old daughter's favorite snack ever is celery with bleu cheese dressing.  They still like the junk, but are asking for it less.  It is important to me that their changes be like mine--made from their own preferences and enjoyment, not us forcing them.

So, we are doing it our own way, but I believe that this won't just be 100 days of real food, but instead a lifetime of happier, healthy eating.  :)

Image credit: color line on Flickr

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