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!
This is the final part of a 3-part story of the Gruetzmacher family. Eric, Amy, and their three young boys have recently revolutionized their diet and health by bidding farewell to processed foods, and embracing a diet of all whole, fresh foods. Be sure to read part 1 and part 2 and get to know the Gruetzmacher family and the journey they are on!
Okay–so all of this seems like a pretty fanciful story. Tasty food, compliant children, a supportive husband; but how does this really work out in the day-to-day life of the Gruetzmachers? How does Amy manage to provide and cook real food while taking care of three young boys throughout the day?
First I asked Amy how their grocery budget has changed. She replied that on average they are spending 25% more on fresh, whole foods than what they were eating before. She seemed surprised that they really aren’t spending that much more, and she says that the extra expense is well worth the benefits they’re seeing in their health.
A while back I asked readers what the #1 deterrent to eating only whole foods was for them. Their answer? Time. And so I asked Amy just how much more time she is spending in the kitchen. Her answer? A lot more; about 50% more, in fact. Amy wasn’t bitter about this, though; she loves to cook! And cooking is definitely more fun when using fresh ingredients, and when you can see the direct benefits your family is reaping from eating the food you make.
It’s not just dinner preparations that are demanding more of Amy’s time in the kitchen. She says more time is required because she is now cooking every meal! Along with more time actually spent in the kitchen, she’s also spending additional time making extra grocery trips to keep fresh produce in the house.
Amy has already developed some helpful strategies in the kitchen to make whole foods do-able while caring for three young boys. On particularly busy weeks, she begins the week by making an egg frittata, which can be heated up for quick, healthful breakfasts and snacks. She’s learned to make sure the boys eat first thing in the morning, that way they are fed and happy which then buys her some time to feed herself and spend some time in the kitchen. Another thing Amy has found helpful is to keep homemade snacks like fruit and nut bars on hand for when they’re out and about. (Click here for my favorite grain-free fruit and nut bar recipe!)
Amy illustrated for me what a typical morning in the Gruetzmacher home looks like. She depicted a scene from The Food Network; Amy says that when she’s in the kitchen, she feels like Rachel Ray. Every morning she gathers up fresh vegetables she brought home from the Farmer’s Market, or from her CSA box. She chops them up and throws them into a pan creating omelets for everyone to begin their day right.
As I interviewed Amy, she was gracefully making her way around the kitchen. David balanced on her hip, and she dodged around Levi who was laying in the middle of the kitchen floor. Isaac ran in and out of the kitchen, dressed in pajamas, filling us in on his latest accomplishment in “Minecraft”. Amy seemed unphased by cooking while meeting the needs of her boys. In fact, she recognizes that her cooking is meeting the needs of her boys.
I wondered aloud how she felt about the kitchen demanding more time; time away from the boys, and she explained that they just make it work. Amy understands that investing time in preparing whole foods for her family is actually buying them more time; more time at the kitchen table as a family; more energy to play with the boys in the yard when they’re 2, or 20; and adding more years onto their lives to enjoy each other.
As Amy gives more time to the kitchen, her boys are watching. They’re observing what mom sees as important: feeding her family good, nutritious food. In this way, Amy is building into her children a knowledge of what real food is, and an understanding of its importance, as well as how to prepare it.
Eating real food takes commitment, time, and energy. It generally costs more. Making a transition to eating whole foods can be overwhelming; it is a process. My time with Amy and her family attested to these things. These are the facts I share with people when they inquire about switching to a whole food diet. I don’t want to disguise these challenges, because the hurdles are something to be embraced and conquered as a family.
Amy and her family have counted the cost, both time and expense, to be worth the benefits they are reaping. The Gruetzmacher family, like so many others, are seeing real results. They’re experiencing transformations in their minds, bodies, and in their family that will benefit them today, tomorrow, years down the road, and for generations to come. For the Gruetzmacher family, that’s a legacy worth nurturing and defending through eating whole foods.
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!