Everywhere you look in the grocery stores are items that SAY they are better for you… and it’s not hard to look on the Internet to find countless articles telling you all the million ways that those items are NOT REALLY better for you. How you eat it is up to you. It’s up to your personal health issues, and up to your finances. And honestly, you could be on your deathbed and super wealthy and choose to eat crap. Because if that’s what you want, then it’s not crap at all. What we chose to put into our bodies is what we chose to put into our bodies. So many moms today argue and bicker about what is healthy and what’s not for their kids. They criticize other moms for the choices they make for their families, when they’ve never walked for even a second in her shoes. Personally, I find myself a little offended when folks tell me what I should and shouldn’t eat, and what I should and shouldn’t feed to my kids, and it puts me on the defense…
But then I sit here and I think about my health and the problems our family faces (not all in one body, thankfully!): Rheumatoid Arthritis, Migraines, Lactose Intolerance, Skin Allergies, Asthma, and Seasonal Allergies. Mostly all in relation directly to inflammation of some sort. And isn’t this becoming more and more common in America today? The more processed and chemical based that our foods become, the more our health declines. Granted, some of our issues have been around for years and are only just now being properly diagnosed. But it is a proven fact that Autism is on the rise. Heart disease is claiming lives left and right. And why? Because of what we put into our bodies.
Back when I was first diagnosed with RA, I read a book called The Inflammation Syndrome: The Complete Nutritional Program to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, Arthritis, Diabetes, Allergies, and Asthma by Jack Challam (that’s an affiliate link -thank you for participating!), and my eyes were opened for the first time to all of the junk I was putting in my body. I started cutting out night shade veggies (which I need to do again because for folks with RA, night shades are a PROVEN problem – for a complete list of night shade veggies, and to learn more about them, click here.), and I started cutting gluten, but didn’t dive wholeheartedly into either one. Because, you see, I love my night shades. I really do. We eat bell peppers around here practically every day. And, well, gluten and I have a not-so-secret love affair going. I’m in love with breads and pastas. Bring on the carbs!
However, after having our kids and looking to set forth a healthier living diet plan, I decided to dive into gluten free living – for myself, not for the whole family. And man! Is it ever expensive!?!?! And I also noticed that while it’s super easy to find a bazillion gluten free desserts that are really tasty, I started eating more desserts than I was eating before, and I didn’t lose any weight at all… didn’t ease any pressure on my joints at all either… because I was just filling my body with a different kind of crap. Gluten free crap.
So this week I decided to dive wholeheartedly into a new kind of living. Yup, after just a couple weeks I gave up the gluten free “fad.” (I call it a fad because that’s what it was for me – I am not saying that all people who live a gluten free lifestyle are living a fad! Don’t read that wrong!) But what I’ve started this week is far from a fad. It truly will be a lifestyle change. And here’s why. Because I’m going to focus on putting REAL FOOD into our bodies. I’ve heard of the Real Food revolution in the past and honestly thought we were living that. Until I started reading labels. Seriously ya’ll, it’s hard to find time to read labels when you’re in the grocery store with a toddler and a newborn – I KNOW – but do it. Just once. Or, for an even more eye opening time, during nap one day, take two minutes and go pick up 5-10 items in your pantry and read the labels on the things that you eat most often. Stop reading that item when you get to the first word in the ingredients that you don’t know how to pronounce. Yeah… I’m good at sounding stuff out… but man. That was an eye opener. Also look to see how many fillers like various types of grain are in the ingredients list of random items that you didn’t even realize grain was in. Also an eye opener.
It’s cheaper to grow modified corn. It’s cheaper to process modified corn. It’s cheaper to buy products with modified corn. And that’s what I’ve been doing. But that is changing. If we consume corn, I want it to be the yummy, sweet, juicy kind that I cut right off the cob myself in the summertime after cooking it on the grill. I don’t want to read about it on the label of some food in my pantry. But that’s MY CHOICE. It doesn’t have to be yours.
If it has more than 5 ingredients total, it might not be a good choice for my family. If it has ingredients that I can’t read, then it might not be a good choice for my family. If it has GMO corn in it, it might not be a good choice for my family. OR, it might be one of those three or all of the above, and I might buy it anyway because I feel it’s justified. And that’s ok – because it’s my choice. It’s your choice. But on a whole, I’m stepping out and making a plan to feed my family REAL FOOD. I want to know what’s in it. When I started making that choice and reading labels, I was amazed how many things that were real foods that were already naturally gluten free for me, and also dairy free for the kids.
Know the bodies in your family. Know what nutrients will help and what will hurt, and what things might affect the medical conditions that you’re dealing with on a daily basis. Be educated. Take the time to do the research. And then make an educated choice. No-one should be telling you not to buy Twinkies and ice cream. (I personally love Twinkies and ice cream… even together in the same bowl!) No-one but you can make the choice for or against ANY food.
But, if you’d like to slowly start looking for healthier options, try reading the ingredients on your breakfast, and start there. I found this blog post with information about making my own oatmeal packets. I read it, and decided what things I wanted to put in and leave out, and had a fabulous breakfast this morning that I feel satisfied with, and enjoyed. I did mine different than hers, but her information had me educated at the store and able to make a good decision for my own needs based on my own budget, and I definitely look forward to breakfast for lots of mornings to come! Here’s what I put in mine, in case you want an additional set of ideas on top of what she has:
Brown sugar (abt 2 Tbsp), Cinnamon (abt a tsp), Kosher salt (a pinch), Old Fashioned Gluten Free Rolled Oats (1/3 cup), Natural Coconut Flakes (abt 1 1/2 Tbsp), dried blueberries (abt 1 tsp), and a dried cranberry/pomegranate mix (abt 1 tsp). Then to cook, I dumped all that in a bowl, drizzled raw local honey on top, added 1 cup of coconut milk and stirred. I cooked that in the microwave for 3 minutes, stirred, and then let it stand for about 5 minutes (maybe longer b/c I went and threw on some clothes and put my hair up). It turned out AWESOME. The perfect hot breakfast for me. Might not be perfect for you, but I hope that IF YOU WANT to find healthier options, that you will search for them, and that you will find success.