936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting
Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
From September through December of last year we ate very little real food in our home. Right as I began to emerge up and out of the haze of early pregnancy, and overcome the vast nausea and fatigue of my first-trimester, we set off for a five-week-long visit to my parents’ home in the Ozark mountains. Our time spent with dad and mom involved much great, tasty food, but still very little real food. What exactly do I mean by “real food”? A definition of the term deserves its own blog post, so for the sake of simplicity I will state it as thus:
|Breakfast: Lamb Sausage, Potato, and Mushroom Frittata with Aged Gouda. Time to table: 30 minutes|
Although we thoroughly and completely enjoyed our month of great southern cooking in the Ozarks, we are eager and ready to return, with vigor, to our real food diet now that we are home. While on our trip, we had a lot of time to process life. It was a great opportunity at the beginning of this new year to look back over our past year, pray, and make some new life plans and goals. During this month of processing, it dawned on me that we may also be in need of some time “de-processing”, in the realm of our bodies, anyways. I came up with the idea to conduct a sort of experiment to help launch us back into our wholesome way of eating. Grayson helped me out with a little bit of a 9th-Grade science class review on the definition of an experiment:
Research: During our trip I read several helpful books: “Real Food” by Nina Planck, and “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver, as well as some blog posts by Lisa Leake, a real food blogger (www.100daysofrealfood.com) I know that pursuing knowledge is a very powerful tool in guiding us and motivating us to continue on this journey. It is, after all, what began us on this venture in the first place. However, with all of the contradicting information in the realm of what we should and shouldn’t eat, I am wary when conducting research. Facts must be checked, and read in view of other facts I have heard and read in various books, articles, podcasts, and documentaries. I try and make a practice of not believing a fact at face value, but allowing it some real credibility in my mind only once it has been echoed by some of my other research. This phase of our experiment is never ceasing. A very large part of eating real food is learning about what real food is, and how to obtain, prepare, and enjoy it.
Problem: Eating processed foods makes us feel sick and saps us of energy and focus. It deteriorates our quality of life and how able we are to serve and enjoy one another and the Lord.
Hypothesis: If we eat little to no fake food, and instead replace it with wholesome real food, we will feel better, have a higher quality of life, and better be able to serve.
Experiment: Here is the meat and potatoes; the “what” we will be doing throughout these two months. We will be emptying our kitchen of processed foods. We don’t have many to begin with, as we have, to an extent, been living this way for almost a year. However, my first trimester of pregnancy has left us with a few stragglers–some processed intruders–as well as some things we never quite gave up (organic yet heavily processed granola bars and snacks, for example) of which we will be ridding ourselves of, and replacing with all real foods. For two months, we will be taking further action than we have previously to eat only wholesome, real foods. (I’ll explain more of the details of how we will be doing this in future posts.)
Results: I can already anticipate some of the results we will see at the end of these two months, as they should mirror results such as we saw when we began this journey almost a year ago. Results such as: weight loss (or maintaining a healthy pregnancy weight for me), more energy and greater focus, clearer skin, and less aches and pains. Some additional results I hope to see, however, would be a clearer direction, at the end of two months, in how best to continue our real eating journey as a family. As well, I hope to see an increased interest and motivation from my readers to try some new recipes, and adopt some new wholesome ways of eating in their own homes.
|Lunch: Broiled Open-Face Veggie Sandwiches with Brick Cheese on Homemade Buckwheat Bread with Fresh Fruit and Spinach Smoothies. Time to Table: 20 Minutes (Besides the homemade bread which from flour to loaf took 1 hour the day before)|
This may seem like a lot of work–it will be. However, part of this experiment also entails learning how to “make it work”; how to create an environment of good eating habits, and delicious, healthful food, all while running a household, working part-time, being involved in ministry, and loving my husband and boys. The photos I’ve included in this blog post picture some of the meals we’ve enjoyed (thoroughly, might I add) this past week, along with how long they actually took to prepare. Real food does at times require a larger time commitment. However, we are also learning that we can create delicious, wholesome meals from scratch in a very short time. One of my goals for this experiment is to encourage and enable readers to do the same. On that note, I’m also looking to receive more reader feedback. I want to know what you are thinking about real food. I’ll be asking simple questions at the end of my blog posts to encourage reader participation. Watch for these and share your thoughts!
I am certain that the time commitment and effort will be worth it. During our trip down south I had a lot of time to think, pray, and process life. I came up with two things I really want to focus on this spring and summer. One is the ladies’ Bible study I teach out of our home. The other is our family, and life at home; life as a homemaker, I guess you could call it. Let me elaborate a little on this second focus, by sharing what I wrote in my journal concerning it:
“Our home and family
Adjusting to two little boys. Integrating a simpler and more wholesome diet. Enabling Grayson in his studies.”
These three things really are intertwined. I know from experience that a healthful diet gives us greater energy and focus, enabling us to better serve one another, care for our son, and spend more thorough time studying. And so yes–this will be work. It will mean more planned trips to some stores a bit further away from home, better time management, researching ingredients, compiling and trying (and failing) new recipes, much more cooking from scratch, and blogging more regularly. I am fully convinced that the time and effort will be worth it for the health, future, and enjoyment of our family.
In future posts I’ll be detailing some of the actual practices we’re adapting in our kitchen throughout this experiment. I don’t want to set guidelines. I’m not a fan of rules–they remind me too much of diets, and this is no diet. Instead, throughout these two months I will be blogging about food myths that we fully intend to debunk (“fat is bad” “avoid butter”, “drink skim milk”, “meat causes cancer” and all those other things we’ve heard for years but hold no truth when held up to the light of actual nutritional health). I’ll also be blogging about the new wholesome ingredients we are exploring and experimenting with. As well as some things we plan to avoid, or drop all together from our diet, like refined carbohydrates (a processed carb which has been stripped of it’s nutritional value, I.E. white flour, sugar, and rice)
|Dinner: Creole Seasoned Sauteed Chicken Breast and Legs, served with Homemade Whole-Wheat Dumplings, Sauteed with Fresh Asparagus, Fennel, and Onions in a Garlic and Dill Sauce. Time to Table: 45 Minutes|
Honestly I’ve been a bit apprehensive about writing this first blog post of the de-processing experiment. I felt a bit paralyzed this week as I tried to convince myself to just sit down and do it. I was waiting for the perfect week, the perfect day, the perfect time to begin “the project”, as I kept referring to it as. “No, we can’t buy those, we’re starting the project this week….or next.” I would explain to Grayson in the market. The setting had to be perfect. However, I’ve realized that there will never be a perfect time or setting. If I wait until our house is perfectly stocked of wholesome foods, and I have a full menu of real meals planned, we’ll never begin this thing. The whole point of this is, after all, to continue a process–the process we set in motion almost a year ago: to integrate a real, wholesome way of eating into our home. It is a learning process, and forever will be. As I continue to pursue knowledge, some of my ideas and beliefs regarding our health and nutrition have changed even from when I began this blog a year ago. I must be honest to admit I was wrong in some things, and will also be in the future. As long as we keep moving forward, learning, and gauging our progress by the great food we’re eating, the fun we’re having, and how excellent we feel, I’ll count this adventure a success.
And so we invite you to join us. Don’t worry, you don’t need to empty your cupboards and make a dash for the nearest health food store. We simply invite you to observe what we are doing, and maybe learn a little through our personal journey as we continue on in pursuing a healthful, wholesome way of eating and living. As well, this being a learning process, we want to learn from you. During these two months I’ll be asking simple questions regarding nutrition and how people eat simply to gather information for my own knowledge, as well as spur on discussion.
And so, readers, please comment below to my first question: What is your number one hindrance, or interference, to eating real food?
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!