Sunday, June 3, 2012

Day 3: Challenges

Midway through day 3 of TRYING to remove processed foods from our family menu. And to say I underestimated the influence of processed foods in our life would be an understatement. It's actually very similar to how I've been eating, with the exception of having to cut out my diet soda (I'm trying not to think about that) and artificial sweeteners for my yogurt and coffee. But my family is a completely different story. While they all eat fruits and vegetables, I'm realizing just how much we relied on processed foods for the convenience and cost for a big part of the family menu. It definitely takes more time and effort to have fresh items for breakfast and snacking. Here are the biggest challenges we've had:

Social situations. Day 1 we had a wedding (although I loved that they had fresh veggies, cheese, and fruit as part of the menu...but we also enjoyed the turtle cake). Day 2 we had lunch with family. I never, ever, ever, ever want to become a food snob...where people feel like they have to make sure they cater to the way I prefer to eat (or, at least that I'm convincing myself that I prefer to eat that way). And I also don't want to pack my own meal, although in a potluck situation I'd be sure to bring something fresh.

A picky 3 year old. My five year old will try most foods and will fully embrace almost anything. She's adventurous. She's willing to try what's in front of her. My three year old on the other hand seems to know only one word at the dinner table...YUK! It almost doesn't matter what it is or if he's had it before, he takes some coaxing to try things, even things he's eaten and enjoyed before. So he's been much more of a challenge. On day 1 he even refused to eat the yogurt popsicle that prior to that he loved. I'm not giving up on him, but it does take a little extra effort to make sure that I have things he'll eat...boiled eggs instead of the omlettes we had for lunch, individual raw veggies versus a salad, etc.

The items still lurking about. I didn't totally clear out the cupboards. Some of the things I am letting everyone else finish and then just won't buy them again (at least for June). Some things I put away for the month. But somehow the kids quickly sniffed out the fruit snacks and graham crackers. But slowly these items are also dwindling and the grocery shopper of the family won't be replacing them, at least not until July 1. (I have to be honest, walking home from church today I had a moment of "what are we doing? It would be so much easier to just eat the way we used to." But I know that I feel better, so we're sticking with it.

Today is the first day that I've been fully on non-processed foods (social situations got me the other two days). I wish I could report that everything wrong in my life and body has improved, but that would be an utter lie. I do feel better in terms of my digestive health and just an overall feeling of well-being (i.e. I'm not bloated or lethargic).
Breakfast the past 2 days: local free range eggs, local berries, non-local (but yummy) kiwi

I did have a great day yesterday of hitting the local farmers market yesterday and also going to Riverfront Berry Farm where I found they sell free range eggs. They were more expensive than the store, but they made for some seriously good omlettes. As my 5 year old said, "the yolks are almost orange." Andrew and I finally watched "Food, Inc." last night and Andrew's first comment was "when do we get to order more beef?" (We get grass fed beef and pastured pork from Meadow Oaks Angus...their yummy bacon accompanied our fabulous eggs at lunch). Although I do have my moments of doubt, I'm happy that we're trying to have not just more whole foods, but foods that are raised locally. But because I also love kiwi, bananas, and coffee, I could not be a complete locavore.

I would say if you are thinking about cutting out processed foods, take a really good look at how many processed foods or restaurant foods you are eating. Pick one area to change first. Start slow so you don't get discouraged or go crazy. But do start. 


  1. Gina - Thank you for blogging this! I have also been trying to go this route. We have a lot of Amish markets around where we live so I tend to shop there for all our meats, cheese, and fresh fruits/vegetables. I still get tripped up on the amount of time it takes, however, to cook. You wouldn't by any chance have some great tasting, fast recipes that you always fall back on, do you??
    Sarah Schmid

  2. Fast and easy is pretty much the only way I cook. I was thinking of posting some...especially new ones I try that are good. Right now some of my favorite recipes I've been trying are on my pinterest recipes board, but they are mixed in with all my recipes...I'll make a whole foods pinboard shortly. In general I arrange our meal planning like this:

    breakfast: quick, easy, no prep foods like yogurt, cheese, hard boiled eggs, lots of fruits, I may try to make my own granola bars, and for this week I made whole wheat banana chocolate chip muffins (they took very little time on Sunday and got 2 thumbs up from everyone)...they are on my pinterest recipe board.

    snacks: fruits, nuts and nut butters, dark chocolate:), popcorn, raisins, yogurt smoothies and yogurt pops (we have a yogurt obsession)

    lunch: for hubby, leftovers. For the kids and I: fresh veggies (cut in dipping pieces for the kids, salad for me...I usually take half an hour once a week to wash & cut up all veggies), fruit, PB, hard boiled eggs, tuna, milk, and I always have chicken cooked and ready to throw on salads. This is the hardest change as usually I would make the kids something easy and processed...and with taking out store bought bread that takes out sandwiches. For this month I will make my own.

    Supper: Usually a meat either grilled, crock pot, or baked, some sort of cooked veggie (my favorite way is to sautee in olive oil, adding in some garlic or other spices as needed), and then a starchy food...which has been harder with taking out processed foods. Last night I made grilled potato packets (on my pinterest board) and the night before we had pinto beans made in a crockpot.

    That makes it sound overly easy, but in actuality, it is much easier to rely on processed food. It does take more time, but by keeping our menus simple and stripped down, it does take less time.