September 10, 2012

Real Food

Lately I've been feeling convicted about the food I am feeding my family. We don't necessarily eat terribly unhealthy, but the types of foods we're eating has become a growing concern of mine. The amount of processed things I'm allowing to go into our bodies and what that really means is scary to me. I've never dug into what exactly "processed" meant. I think I just didn't want to. But now the information seems to keep getting thrown in my face without me really having to look far. Lots of stuff I didn't want to know about, but glad I'm learning, like Artificial Food Dyes and how they are make from Petroleum (ya, you know, the same stuff that gas is made with. Yes, the gas you put in your vehicle). And Artificial Flavoring. I don't know too much about this other than is chemically made flavoring... that can't be good, right? Here is just one article I've read lately that puts things into perspective. BTW... that blog... 100 days of real food. It's pretty awesome! I'm having a hard time finding the time I need to read every single post she's ever done.

This all started when Andrew and I were home during Trey's NTC stint. My dad saw an infomercial for a Nutribullet. Discovered how easy and beneficial it could be to make healthy smoothies with spinach, fruit and flax seed (for example). He was a little obsessive for about a week until he finally dropped the bucks down and bought one. Once he started using it, he almost immediately started noticing differences in the way he felt. (Nurtibullet isn't what I'm trying to sell to you here, although it does work fabulously, the change of diet is what I'm stressing here.. just to be clear!). These smoothies led to him getting more information on processed foods and how terrible they are for us. Once my dad gets stuck on something, he lets everyone know. It's not a bad thing.. he just like to spread the word. His ultimate goal is to get off of the BP and Cholesteral meds that he has to take. If he can successfully do that by changing his diet, why wouldn't he be a huge advocate?

So that's how all of this started for me. Then my SIL (sister-in-law, not son-in-law... this reference is for my mother) started taking a nutrition class for her nursing degree. They learned a bit about label reading last week and she has strict instructions to call me after every class to reiterate what she's learned. The amount of sodium we digest into our bodies is CRAZY. So much more than we are meant to consume. And sugar.. ha.. don't get me started! They focused a lot on the food we feed our kids and it got me thinking.
When Andrew first started experimenting with foods, I was adamant on making his purees. I didn't want any of the additives that goes into the jarred foods to enter his little body. I wanted to give him the best start possible. So with very few exceptions I made just about all of his foods. From simple purees in the beginning to blended up meals the closer he got to one.
Then he got to the point where he didn't need his food pureed and I just gave him whatever. I was still pretty good in the beginning. He never got sweets.. or juice.. or anything fruit-snackish. He still got (and does get) lots of fruits and veggies. But there was.. and is.. lots of packaged, processed foods in there as well. And now that he's two I've loosened up even more. Honestly, he gets a frozen breakfast every morning, where I used to make him eggs and fruit or homemade pancakes. He eats entirely too much blue box mac n' cheese. Canned soups. You get the point.

So my point in all this is that I want to make some big changes. Not only with him, but all of us. That's where I need some input. I can think of a few things to do, but nothing I can change an entire diet with. I'm phasing out the processed stuff we have now and over the weekend plan to freeze some meals in serving sizes. I can make some vegetable soup, homemade mac n' cheese, and I found a really cool mini corndog idea on Pinterest. I can freeze some pancakes for breakfasts. If we want cookies I can make them from scratch. But other than that.. I'm at a loss.
Do any of you eat naturally? I know there will be some processed things we'll still eat, but I'd like to cut waayyyyy back. What do you do for your kids lunches? Or yours? What do you snack on besides fruits and veggies? If you freeze meals, how do you freeze them in separate serving sizes? Any input or advise would be much appreciated!


Kristy said...

I've been doing some serious thinking on this very topic lately ... especially with the Big D looming ever closer. I used to get in the bad habit of just picking up frozen dinners when it's just me (or me and a small kiddo) to cook for. I have set a pretty ambitious weight loss goal for myself for that year and the only way I'm going to accomplish it AND keep the kiddos on a healthy path is to break that bad habit.

I, also, am caving more and more to the blue box mac-n-cheese, chicken nuggets, etc. for lunches for Mr. B, now that he's older and want to break that habit as well. I don't need to set my kids up for weight issues in the future. Don't get me wrong, m-n-c every once in a while is fine, in my eyes. But we're doing a couple boxes a month and that's just too much....

Meal ideas and such: nothing yet, but I'll be sure to share as I embark on a similar journey.

Freezing meals: I find I use the small bags for my Food Saver a lot to freeze a dinner and a half each time I make a lot of extra. Plus, that's easier meal planning on the other end!

Good luck with your new food adventures!!!

Charla Welch said...

I've been doing this, too. J and I got into the Localvore scene (google it) but it's hard to do in El Paso.

I started by trying to use fresh veggies, or frozen if I couldn't get fresh, instead of canned. I love to bake, so I rarely use mixes. We used to buy frozen chicken patties, frozen french fries, etc, for easy dinners. Our freezer is only used for meats and ice cream now.

I got a magic bullet from my grandma (she had, like 5 complete sets) and J and I have been doing smoothies for breakfast. I do like them. And my Gordon Ramsay cookbook was another step on our less-processed path. He doesn't use cheats like mixes and jarred sauces. Even tells you how to make your own soup stocks, which I might have to try.

Amber said...

I was actually going to try this after Brian left. So far, I've mostly eliminated eating fast food, "junky" snacks and buying more fruit and veggies. I don't have little ones, so it's not been too hard. But, I see you've found the 100 days of real food blog, so I think that's an excellent place to start. :)

Sarah and Derek said...

I don't think this post could have come at a better time. We really don't eat out that often, and it's rarely fast food, but at home we count calories and that often means a lot of low-cal processed foods. Keep us updated on how your journey with natural foods goes, I wish I had more time to make better meals!

Sarah and Derek said...

I don't think this post could have come at a better time. We really don't eat out that often, and it's rarely fast food, but at home we count calories and that often means a lot of low-cal processed foods. Keep us updated on how your journey with natural foods goes, I wish I had more time to make better meals!