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!
Last Saturday Gray and I ventured out to downtown Milwaukee to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary (without the kids, yeah!). Our date began at one of our favorite brunch spots, Cafe Benelux, and ended at the Milwaukee Public Market, sitting together at a quaint little table with some coffee (to help us recover from a pretty hefty brunch and cocktails), to plan the next 6 weeks of our life.
And all of this as we continue our regular rigmarole of: Work (for both of us), shopping, cooking, canning, pouring love and life into two crazy little boys, reading, writing, and seeing as many friends and family as we can before we move away.
With all of these things on our “to-do” plates during the next six weeks, how can I possibly put time and focus into keeping our dinner plates wholesome?
This is the third time I’ve completely re-written this blog post. I had it finished last night when I had my editor (Grayson) go over it. I’m so thankful that he doesn’t let me publish sub-par posts. He told me it was dry. “Prescriptive”. “Be real with them”, he told me. “Tell them we ordered pizza the other night.”
Yes, the other evening Papa John graced us with dinner. Only it wasn’t very graceful, in fact it was a gut bomb. It left us feeling sick. And isn’t that the thing? These “convenient” answers to the “problem” of dinner may buy us an extra 30 minutes, but they take their toll in other, bigger ways; like on our health, focus, and energy. And those are three things we certainly need right now!
The other day I heard a term for eating whole foods that I really liked. “Inconvenient eating”. Eating real foods is not convenient. It takes time, forethought, energy, money. Advertisers capitalize on this. They offer an alternative: convenient foods. They offer a solution to hectic days in the form of a quick call to the pizza joint, or an already made “dinner”, all ready to pull from the freezer and pop into the oven. Convenience.
I’m finding that the truth is that even when life is a whirlwind, it’s just not worth it to resort to convenience foods. A year and a half into eating whole foods and our bodies have changed. Drastically. They no longer recognize processed foods as sustenance. Our bodies now rely on good, wholesome, real foods. When we give them lesser value, we feel it. And it doesn’t feel good.
This is inconvenient. Why, oh why did we train our bodies to reject frozen pizzas and Chinese take-out? Couldn’t we keep life easier by continuing to lie to our bodies about what food is?
Let me tell you, we are so thankful that our bodies now know the truth. Our guts know what real food is, and what it isn’t. Yes, this lifestyle is rather inconvenient, but so is feeling sick, tired, groggy, and sluggish after a poor choice of food for dinner.
Let me be vulnerable here: after an unusually crazy day, we sometimes still depend on our favorite Thai takeout or pizza from a little “mom and pop” joint down the street for dinner. We are human, after all, and life get’s busy. (That and we love ourselves some good, authentic Thai food!) However for the most part, we are learning new ways to sustain our whole food diet instead of relying on convenience foods.
Although they do require some work and a few steps, these flat breads are simple enough to throw together in a hour’s time. They are even simpler if you already have roasted vegetables in the fridge, and pickled vegetables in the cupboard. These flat breads are also extremely versatile. I always top them with sliced potatoes, either roasted or par-boiled, but then I let my imagination run wild with whatever fresh ingredients we have in the house.
Something we learned very quickly when we switched to eating whole foods is that it is absolutely essential to keep the house stocked with whole foods–and only whole foods. You can’t reach for that frozen pizza in the freezer if it isn’t there! A couple of times a week I restock our kitchen with a colorful and versatile variety of fruits and vegetables; always keeping variety a priority so we don’t become bored. One way I like to showcase the vibrant colors of our vegetables is with this colorful Simple Egg And Vegetable Skillet Frittata.
Eating a whole food diet is inconvenient. Accept it. Embrace it. Take it on! Find ways to make it work in your own home. Yes, it takes a lot of work up front–it did for us. A little extra work up front is worth reaping the benefits of a healthful dinner, benefits such as increased energy and focus to carry you through the remainder of the evening, and into a good night of rest. Choosing evening by evening to eat wholesome dinners is an investment for our health for the long run, too; adding years onto our lives, and more importantly vitality to those years. Yes, eating wholesomely takes a lot of time and work, but our health is worth it. My family is worth it.
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!