Parenting and the challenge of healthy eating

Eating real, fresh healthy food can be challenging in our modern world. I have always thought of myself as healthy, until recently when I began an Elimination Cleanse to determine some food sensitivities that I believe I may have. The cleanse only allows consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables (minus nightshades and citrus), grains without gluten, nuts (minus peanuts and pistachios), healthy oils like olive, coconut and sesame, and chicken, turkey, fish and wild game. At times I felt desperate, not knowing what to eat and how I will survive without my morning coffee, a slice of bacon and an egg and cheese omelette. But I am starting to feel better than ever and have gained a completely new perspective on eating and food.

The problem today is that so much of what we eat is processed and pre-packaged. Salad dressings, crackers, soups and more may seem healthy, but have you read the ingredients? What the heck is Disodium EDTA or natural flavour?

I remember when the low-fat fad was in full-force. So many of us bought into it, not realizing that when the fat is removed (and what process is required to do so?) other unnatural ingredients are added. At that time, I literally could not get enough of the admittedly cardboard-tasting baked potato chips. It was years later when I truly became conscious of what I was eating and realized that one of the main ingredients in the majority of baked chips was Monosodium Glutatmate or MSG. Disgusting!

healthy fats

I now know that fat is good, but not all fats are good. A handful of nuts, some almond butter, an avocado, a spoonful of olive oil or f coconut oil, these are my favourite fats! We need fats, just like we need protein and carbohydrates.

I will admit that over the years I have become what my husband likes to call a “hippy” or a “tree-hugger”. I have become more and more aware of the impact that we are having on our world and environment and the foods that we are eating. We planted a garden for the first time this year and I started my backyard compost (hooray!). I am that “crazy” person bringing glass Tupperware containers to pick up takeout and I always, always, always have my reusable water bottle, coffee mug and cloth bags with me.

But every so often my hubby and I find ourselves exhausted at the end of the day without a plan for dinner and then the pizza and sushi and other take-out follows. I often find myself buying packaged foods that I could make at home because I'm tired and in a rush and they are advertised as natural and healthy, only to realize upon closer inspection that they really aren’t.

I just do not trust giant food manufacturers. I do not believe that they have our best interests in mind, especially when they are using GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), MSG and many mystery ingredients. It is common sense really. Healthy does not mean a bag of low-fat potato chips or gluten-free bread, low-sodium soup or soya sauce.

Healthy to me means fresh, local (whenever possible) and chemical and hormone-free (organic). Our local farmers, gardeners and bakers are the people who have our best interests in mind.

Fruit Bowl

When my cleanse is over and I've discovered what foods I need to avoid, I am going to continue eliminating processed and packaged foods. I am going to strive to make a weekly meal plan and make foods from scratch that I would normally buy packaged. Chips, cookies and other desserts as well as crackers, soups and pizza are going to be homemade from now on.

Instead of feeling the burden of cooking and the need to keep my daughter pre-occupied while doing so, I am going to involve her in my planning, cooking, gardening, composting and baking. At 16 months, she already helps me put away the groceries and empty the dishwasher and has cracked a few eggs for me too! Healthy eating should be a family affair and should take time. It is definitely worth the investment.

I know it feels like there is not enough time in the day. We are constantly being pulled in different directions and sometimes we forget what is truly important: our families and our health.

We only have one life and one world. Let’s do right by them both.

Suggested Resources

Just Eat Real Food:

This site has AMAZING recipes that I am out-of-my-mind excited to make. 

Earth’s General Store:

Everything is organic and their prices cannot be beat anywhere in town! You can buy a ton of food in bulk and can even bring your own containers from home. They even have a small area where the kids can play.

Community Supported Agriculture in Alberta:

They connect you with local farms where you can purchase seasonal food. Your investment will help to ensure the longevity of the small family farm.

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