Wednesday, May 2, 2012

happy home habits

note:  if you are currently in 'survival mode' {i.e. your life seems completely unmanageable like it is spinning out of control}...well...first of all - i am terribly sorry.  i have been there.  secondly, don't feel overwhelmed when you read the following post.  if i had read something like this a year ago i would have burst out crying knowing that i could never implement something this intense.  {it's not intense but when you're in survival mode these things seem a bit more daunting.}  by all means - read on.  and when you are finished just bookmark the page for a later date when you are in better spirits.  and in the meantime - you could read this.  on the other hand...if the season is right for you...i'd love to have you join me in this journey...
a few days ago my 2 1/2 year old asked for fruit snacks.  instantly my almost 4 year old responded, 'that's not a healthy choice buddy.'  
i'm serious.  
i'm not making that up.  
there was a half-full giant box of fruit snacks in our pantry, staring them in the face, and she somehow managed to get him to walk away and eat sliced apples with her instead.  amazing.


we are less than a week into our attempts at healthier eating habits.  and here's the deal...most people who know me would say that our family does eat pretty healthy food compared to a lot of families.  but i've stopped comparing to other families and started to focus completely on what is best for mine.  


it all started with my applesauce revolution and several hours of research.  i decided that we would try to cut out processed foods and eat whole foods instead.  i want to actually know what i am consuming.  a frozen pizza isn't just bread, tomatoes, and cheese...check the ingredients.  even seemingly harmless restaurants like panera and chick-fil-a {2 of my faves} have a few surprises when you start reading labels.  don't get me wrong...i'm not saying that i will NEVER eat at these places again.  i'm just saying that i want to educate myself on what i am actually putting in my mouth {and my kids' mouths} so that i can make sure the bulk of our diet is health food...not junk food.  and 'junk food' is being redefined for me.


please don't slap me for saying this but...
there is a down side to having a good metabolism
all my life i have been able to eat anything i want without it affecting my weight.  i have stayed within 3 pounds of the same weight since high school {minus that time i was carrying a baby in my belly}.  i know that some of you now hate me.  you are thinking that i should count myself fortunate not to have 'weight issues'...and i do.  but...skinny doesn't equal healthy.  
last year i was 'treating' myself to a gigantor sweet tea and fries from mcdonald's at least once a week.  i'm not kidding.  isn't that terrible?  that was part of the 'survival mode' i mentioned earlier.  anyway...that's not the only bad eating habit i've had or that i have exposed my children too {cringe cringe}.  


i've always enjoyed eating healthy foods but too often i have fallen into choosing convenience over what's really good for my body.  i started to feel the effects.  while my waistline stayed the same, internally the junk food was wreaking havoc on me.  i started experiencing terrible headaches {which i've never had before}, the constant urge to take a nap, and an overall sense of irritability.  at first i thought i had a brain tumor {i know...a little dramatic} but then a friend suggested that i cut out caffeine.  i did.  {and i still don't drink caffeine}  within 2 weeks my headaches stopped.  along with cutting caffeine i started to implement a few more healthy practices like drinking more water and reducing my sugar intake {major sacrifice for me and my sweet tooth...i used to have dessert after every meal...including breakfast!}.  i felt better and better.


so after taking a few baby steps toward a healthier lifestyle...i'm ready to go all in!  it's easy to get overwhelmed when you start to realize that probably around 75% of what is sold in the grocery store is 'junk' but i've decided that i will make one healthy choice at a time and keep moving forward. 


ok...before i give you a peek into what's going on around here let me say this...some of these practices we are implementing are not convenient.  yes - tossing your processed foods into your cart at the store and then into your kids' lunchboxes at home is way easier than actually making some of these things and finding a clean reusable container to put them in.  for me...it's worth the effort.  the way i see it - we are making a sacrifice both ways...we are either sacrificing our time our our family's health.  as a working mom of 2 whose husband is out of town a lot...i think it's totally doable and actually fun.  and because i'm eating healthier i have more energy to actually do this stuff!  but as you begin...be patient...with yourself and the process.


so...here's what we are doing so far...
:: replacing store-bought applesauce with homemade {we eat a lot of applesauce!}
:: replacing store-bought bread with homemade {or a yummy loaf from great harvest}.  i dusted off my bread machine about a month ago and have been making a delicious whole wheat flaxseed sandwich bread pretty regularly...a bread machine makes it so easy!


:: planning healthy meals a week at a time with the help of some awesome resources like 100 days of real food {all you have to do is 'like' her facebook page and you can download meal plans and other helpful resources!}
:: ridding our pantry of processed foods and replacing them with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and items that include 5 ingredients or less.


:: eating at home more than we eat out


this is just the beginning of our healthy eating.  and the healthy eating is just the beginning of our new family initiative that i am calling happy home habits.  {i haven't told the rest of the family about this yet but i'm sure they will be on board...especially since i'm the captain of this ship}  more to come on all of that...


in the next day or two i will be posting about how i am getting my kids buy-in on this as well as the specific meal plan we are using this week.  before you know it we'll have your little ones choosing apples over fruit snacks too!


so...i'm wondering...
what are your healthy eating habits?
what are the biggest challenges to eating healthy?
let's encourage one another on this journey!