936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting
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First-Trimester Hiatus Blog 3: “My Husband to the Rescue of Our Health!”
Blog Written at 12 Weeks pregnant, November 19, 2012
What do I find attractive? A man perusing through the produce aisle of the supermarket. My man, that is, who after his solo adventure to the market came home with two paper bags full of only fresh produce. Well, and beer. You know, the essentials….
I can just picture him strolling through the tomatoes and avocados, woman of all ages perplexed by this rather handsome gentleman filling his cart with a plethora of fresh fruits and vegetables. Yes, he is a catch–my catch.
This particular trip to the market was a few days in the making, perhaps even a few weeks. Grayson called me earlier this week to make a simple observation. “I’ve been feeling really bad lately, just sick and tired, and I really think it has to do with what we’ve been eating.” The takeout pizza and frozen pierogies? No! How could it be? Of course I knew he was right. The facts of nutrition and how our diet affects vast aspects of our life and well-being are etched into my mind from our research this past half year. Although I knew his observation to be true, my defenses rose. Of course I knew these things! However, I felt helpless to do anything about it. Grayson made a quick getaway off the phone, realizing his overly-hormonal pregnant wife was getting a bit heated up.
The half hour following his innocently-intentioned phone call, I found myself really thinking through why I was so quick to jump on the defense. Guilt, I realized, was to blame. To help me think through this realization I jotted out an e-mail to Gray.
“I already feel very guilty about compromising something I stand so strongly for–feeding
my family well, and am thus compromising the health of my family and our budget. I already feel really ashamed of it, so when it’s brought up it just makes me feel worse.”
Guilt and shame. I hadn’t realized how hard these two factors were at play in me in regards to our “diet” the past month as I dealt with morning sickness. It may seem silly or trivial. It may seem as though it should be no big deal to compromise our diet for a few months. However, we were beginning to see and feel what a havoc our recent food choices were having on our bodies, and even our minds.
This has been a helpful experiment, in certain ways, in showing us in a very real way the benefits of eating well, and along with that the consequences of eating poorly. Of course I felt tired and sick; I’m in my first trimester. But Grayson felt progressively tired, sick, unmotivated and unable to focus. Looking back at the past few weeks, we can even see a correlation between our eating habits and other habits in life. Many claim, and are correct in doing so, that watching excessive amounts of television often encourages poor eating habits. We have discovered that the opposite is also true. The food we have been eating has been taking its toll on our energy level and our focus. Thus, at the end of the night we are much more prone to sit in front of the laptop pressing “Next Episode” on Netflix for a couple of hours, instead of reading a book. Poor nutrition is manifested in a lack of focus and motivation, which can be seen in poor time management and, well, alot of television time.
Things had to change. Grayson was the one to bring this up. At first I fought it, but I knew he was right, and I was proud of him for being so. The great man that my husband is, he answered my e-mail that day with only encouragement. He told me that he is going to begin eating better again, and he wants to do everything he can to help me to also do so. “Eating anything made at home is better than what we have been eating.” He wrote me. He assured me he understands how I’ve been feeling, and told me not to feel guilty, but that he wants to take the steps necessary to help us make better choices. We both know we won’t be eating quite along with the standards of what we have been the past half year, but we can take little steps–an apple here and a smoothie there–to get us back on the road to where we were, and to where we are aiming with our health–to set up our family with great eating habits, beneficial and protective to our health and well-being, that we may better serve God with the time on earth He’s given us.
|Pasta with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Lemony Ricotta|
Well, this is the conclusion of my “First-Trimester Hiatus” blog posts. After week 12 of pregnancy, I slowly began to emerge out of the mucky waters of morning sickness and longings for fast food. We spent much of my second trimester visiting my parents in the Ozark mountains (see my Ozark blog posts here and here) Although we did enjoy plenty of good Southern cooking, we were beginning to eat relatively better than we had during my first-trimester. We began incorporating, although still in small quantities, fresh fruits and vegetables, and more home cooking into our diet. We have been home from the Ozarks for a week now, and have dove back into our wholesome way of eating. We can definitely feel a difference! Just this past week we have noted a markable improvement in our energy levels and ability to focus. I was even able to jog for the first time since the beginning of my pregnancy, and with no difficulty! We are astonished again and again when we see how much of an impact eating real, wholesome food can have on our physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Next week I will be beginning a sort of project, if you will, on the blog to help launch us further into this wholesome way of eating than we’ve ever gone before. I’ll leave the details for next week, but I will say that now, a year into eating real food, we are very excited to take this thing a step further and better improve the health and well-being of our family.
This recipe was actually not from my first-trimester hiatus. This is a dinner I put together tonight (February 17, 2013), inspired by “Everyday Food”‘s “Tortellini with Lemon and Brussels Sprouts“. I have made a few variations to the recipe. Despite my admiration of tortellini, there sat in our refrigerator a tupperware of leftover homemade whole-wheat pasta from the night before, so this took the place of called-for tortellini. I thought also that the dish needed another element, and so I chose to incorporate the lemon juice into ricotta cheese and serve it on the side. I also roasted the brussels sprouts simply because Gray and I both revere a good roasted sprout.
Brussels sprouts have a lot to prove. The cruciferous vegetable is of the same family as kale, cabbage, kohlrabi, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, wasabi and horseradish (to name a few…) They are misunderstood and misrepresented when overcooked, leading to their less-than-admirable reputation. The first time I had them (some 10 years ago), I baked them into a veggie pot pie. The pie was so terrible that I did not touch the sprouts again until this past summer. This time I tried a simple roasting method–the one I use for this dish–and they were a sure winner on our table! These are now one of our favorite vegetables, simple to prepare, and deliciously in-season during the cold months when we are most desperate for great, in-season produce. Brussels sprouts boast about twice the value of protein than most other vegetables (although incomplete as a plant protein). Brussels sprouts are rumored (by extensive research), to contain cancer-fighting properties. They are also a decent source of vitamin C at about 100mg per cup, cooked. The daily recommended amount of vitamin C is around 80mg right now, although I take about 1,200mg in vitamin c tablets a day, and Grayson closer to 2,000mg, but that can be for another blog…
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!